Through this series I wanted all of us to meet parents and children who bond, have fun and make life long memories in the kitchen. Sadly I didn’t get around to writing about the many many awesome parent-kids teams I “met” over the last few months. I promise to correct that now.
Meet Ishita & the Z-sisters.
Ishita is the heart and mind behind, IshitaUnblogged where she shares her culinary travel tales. In her own words, at IshitaUnblogged, “Culture, history, recipes, food stories, travel stories, chef talk, restaurant reviews and nostalgia unfold here amidst humor, soul-search and visual stimulation. And oh! How could I ever forget? With 2 kids in tow!” Read all about her here.
She is also the founder and editor of FoodeMagdxb; the first ever Food and travel e-magazine, authored by celebrated bloggers around the region.
Say hi to Ishita & her little girls!
Please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a mother of two high-strung girls. The entire family is food-centric, we are always arguing about what to eat, what to cook and where to travel (and to eat!). I left advertising when the kids were born and when restlessness kicked into my creative brains, I started writing a culinary travel blog which evolved with our travels and experiments in my own kitchen. However, today, it has a different direction, but the ethos still remain the same – food and travel stories that I am able to write, along with my girls.
Please tell us a little about your children?
The two girls are known as Z-Sisters in my blog and that is how they love being called as well. Big Z is 10 years old and Li’l Z turned 5. Both of them are very interested in what I am doing, and love the fact that sometimes they can go into the kitchens of hotels and resorts that I visit, because of my job. I am an experimental cook, and cannot stick to recipes or proportions. That is also one reason that I do not bake. I am petrified of baking. Big Z, on the other hand, loves baking. And because of my ignorance in this subject, there is no one to steal her thunder. Every Friday, she would be baking from her recipe cards, or cookbooks and has till date, always managed to churn up her baked goodies as per the recipe. She loves making salads too… and is always telling me at the last minute that she is going to cook something. She is very independent and preheats the oven etc. But I am around, just to ensure that she is safe. Li’l Z is interested too, but is very very jealous. She likes to mess up what ‘Didi’ or elder sister is doing and puts her own stuff into Big Z’s dough and that will definitely ensue a fight! The other thing that I am trying to inculcate in Lil Z is not to lick the ingredients – it blows my sanity away!
Do the Z sisters “cook” with you? How do you involve them in the kitchen/during meal times/grocery shopping?
The girls cook with me over the weekends or if there are parties at home. I would love to involve them in grocery planning – but it becomes really chaotic – both planning the grocery and buying them. As a very busy working mum, entertaining their wish list (even on grocery) becomes really difficult.
How do you think their getting involved in either or all of the above has altered their food habits?
I do not know whether their food habits have been altered, because I have involved them since they were born. Even if it took a longer time, I have let them feel and touch and eat their own food. What definitely has happened is, eating is not a chore for them – as it is with some of our friends’ children. They love to eat, try out different cuisine, ask questions about the country that particulate dish may have come from. They love going out to different restaurants and have good table manners. I wouldn’t flinch taking them to a fine dining restaurant if that venue allowed children. They wouldn’t be bored and I don’t encourage entering a restaurant with i-Pads and other gadgets. As long as there is food in the horizon, they are excited.
How do you deal with mess/chaos that comes with them being in the kitchen? More importantly how do you maintain your sanity?
It can be very daunting. You have to ‘let go’… as long as safety around the kitchen is ensured, you shouldn’t bother. Ignorance here is bliss. Of course, there will be chaos and mess… high-level chaos and mess to be precise. But then you have to remember why did you let your children into the kitchen, in the first case? For them to have fun, learn and enjoy the experience. I was a late entrant into the kitchen, with my parents always telling me to stop touching everything in the kitchen, and how I will hurt myself, or simply because, there’s no need for me to be around. Although my mom had been a brilliant cook, entering the kitchen was like doing something unnecessary – I could very well spend my time doing something worthwhile – studying or painting etc. But this is something I had vowed to myself that I wouldn’t do with my kids. And I genuinely don’t panic, although I feel like tearing my hair for having decided to let the Z-Sisters into the kitchen! My parents would have freaked out if they had seen a laptop on top of the oven (not switched on of course) so that kids can read the recipe!!!