Food is a big thing in Malaysia. It's binds all ethnic background together. It brings joy and peace. It brings people who have one common goal and team together.
But lately, traditional methods of making food have been replaced by packets of instant versions as more and more Malaysian join the hectic pace of the rat race. While it was common to have mothers staying at home, now it's more common to have mothers at work.
And so stuff like peanut sauce was packed in vacuumed aluminium sachet, just heated like an instant tv dinner. Having spices like cumin was not a common practice. Powdered cystalized gelatin replaced agar-agar which was easier to make.
To our horror, more and more mothers had lost nutritional intelligence. There was no guilt in spooning overly processed mashed potatoes or frozen yogurt from fast food joint. There was no guilt in giving blackcurrant flavoured cordial in a milk bottle. There was no guilt in a "pinch of salt" in the homemade baby cereal.
The HOMEMADE - Air Tangan Ibu Group (formerly known as HSFFYB) tries to change this. The number of diabetic patients in this country is a serious concern when the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) showed an increase of three million people with diabetes in 2011 compared to just 1.5 million five years ago. Health director-general Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said the situation is even more alarming when two million people in this country who have high blood sugar have yet to make it checked out.
And thankfully, by joining the group, and sharing our knowledge and passing on our expertise to the community, more and more mothers are made aware of this. In the pursue of preparing healthy meals for their baby, they have even successfully changed the diet of other members of the family as well as themselves. It seemed that every mother from the 4 thousand members on HOMEMADE was starting to cook again and some have never even cooked a full meal in their whole life before becoming a mother.
And Food Revolution Day on May 19th was the PERFECT platform to celebrate this achievement because Jamie Oliver's TED speech that keeps the moderators doing what they do, sharing his wish of also wanting to "create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
Had it not been for allowing me to become the Malaysian Ambassador, I could not have attracted the likes of Imelda Harris and Brian Chen - participants of the first Masterchef Malaysia. They later brought me to Asha Gill who did a media coverage of the inaugural Food Revolution Day via Capital FM Malaysia to spread the invitation to other Malaysians
Our Food Revolution Day celebration was a potluck of freshly made local cuisine featuring our famous baby food versions of real food, in the vicinity of a wonderful lushes green lake side park in the heart of Cyberjaya. It also included a huge playground so the kids can run wild and free.
We also encourage parents to bring toys as well for the kids to play, from bikes to even blocks so the little ones can get to join in as well.
With the mats and food and everyone nicely sitting, it was definately a "kenduri" (a gathering with delicious food served) . There was even a live demo of how to prepare fresh papayas by one of the founding mothers Maghfarah
Fresh papayas were served together with other delicious fresh fruits...
For the babies/kid food we had:
- bread butter pudding
- mini pizzas
- french toast
- oatmeal biscuits
Menus for the adults where local and western delicacies:
- Nasi Impit
- Kuah Lodeh
- Sambal tumis ikan bilis
- Fried Rice
- Fried rice vermicelli noodles
- Fruit Salad
- Peanut Sauce
- Vege Spring Rolls
- Milk Pudding made from Agar-agar
- Brian Chen's special no sugar almond special cake
- Imelda Harris's Frittata
- Chicken Curry
Imelda and Brian was creative enough to make this wonderful small banner for the day.
I am also deeply honored to all the fathers that attended for their continual support to our group and its events. Clearly they were there to enjoy the food and have a little down time with some new found friends.
We are also grateful for Chef Imelda and Chef Brian for taking their time off from the hectic schedule to miggle with the moms for a pointer or two on cooking healthy meals
Above all, we are glad to see the kids enjoying the fresh food and the smiles that are so priceless
Our heartiest thanks to Jamie Oliver for such a wonder idea, giving us a platform to reach out to many more people. Certainly we hope that the Malaysia's event for Food Revolution Day next year would be a more bigger event with more participation from all walks of life.
- Shehan Ismail
Farah Rahim is the co founder of the Malaysian REAL FOOD movement; a local support group called "HOMEMADE - Air Tangan Ibu". She also advocates managing asthma, allergies and eczema naturally via NaturalAAE. She's the official Malaysia's ambasador of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. When not an activist she's a Stay at Home Mom to 3 girls who loves nothing but good ol' homecooked meals. Her full blog-list is above