Father’s Day brings reasons for celebration but for Sidek Kamiso, dad of two, every day is a special day worth celebrating.
“My father passed away when I was young and growing up without him, I have no particular memory of a Father’s Day celebration.
“However, I believe that meaningful memories are made of not just a single event but through the culmination of many others.”
And lots of meaningful memories are what Sidek treasures. He especially enjoys reminiscing about the time he spent watching his mother cook up a storm in the kitchen.
“As a young boy, I was close to my mum and used to follow her to all the kenduri she helped prepare.
During a kenduri, everybody would chip in to do the work and sometimes, it took an entire month to prepare for the feast.
“So cooking always reminds me of my mother, and of how she seemingly ‘whipped up magic’ in the kitchen.”
Now, it is his children’s turn to watch him create the same magic in the kitchen.
“I cook a lot at home and like to try new recipes. I like to grill and roast and am more of an experimental cook. I never follow any recipes to a T and always make adjustments based on what I have in the fridge and cupboard.”
Sidek especially loves to grill and roast on his portable Cobb BBQ set, which he says produces amazing results and can also fry, bake, boil and smoke.
He adds: “I think that cooking shows on TV are a bit contrived. No one I know has a cupboard full of spices or fridge full of the right ingredients. So you have to make adjustments as you cook. That is why I don’t mind experimenting.”
Salt-crusted roasted pineapple is one of the many examples of Sidek’s successful experiments. It is a twist on the snack he enjoyed as a kid.
“We boiled pineapple in water with cloves and sugar. I also like to eat pineapple with salt.
“This dish, with its sweet, salty and sour combination, reminds me of my childhood and the good old days.”
Cooking also helps Sidek relive moments at special places.
“When I miss a place or a country, I try to cook dishes that remind me of them. For instance, when we were in Turkey last year, we had many dishes that used sumac. So, here I have a roasted chicken dish that uses sumac.”
Sumac is a red berry found in temperate and sub-tropical zones and the dried, ground berries are used to add a sharp tartness to food. The spice can be found in the better grocers or specialty Middle Eastern stores.
Besides reminiscing sweet memories, Sidek cooks because it brings him joy, especially when watching his family and friends enjoy his dishes.
“It is completely different from my day-to-day job. Cooking is definitely a stress reliever,” says the communications consultant.
Sidek’s love for cooking has rubbed off on his children, and his oldest is already showing keen interest in the department.
“My daughter likes to bake and has been trying the recipes she finds on the Internet.
“Because no one forced me to learn to cook when I was younger, I will never force them to pick up cooking as well.
“However, I hope that they have good memories of me spending time cooking with them,” he says.
Today, like many Father’s Day before, Sidek is going to spend it with his family and friends.
“That is what memories are made of. I know it is a cliché to say that we have to make every day a special day, but if you are an extremely busy father, which I don’t think I am, Father’s Day can be a day to appreciate what you have.”
NEXT PAGE: Sidek Kamiso’s four recipes