Zubaida Apa: Desi Chef, Totka Queen and a Mentor

IFTEKHAR RAHAT– Though we are living in Science and Technology age, however, Zubaida Tariq, well known as Zubaida Apa, her TOTKAS are very effective even today.

The renowned PAkistani TV chef expired last Thursday, January 4th  after long illness. May Allah rest her soul in peace.

her family, TV personalities, poets, writers and politicians attended the funeral. Besides cardiac problems, Zubaida Apa was also suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She is survived by her husband, son and daughter, along with thousands of fans across the country who will mourn her loss. From all walks of life, in Pakistan people have sent their condolences through social and other media.

Zubaida Aapaa was mainly focused on cooking, though she never took a special course, however, for her cooking was a peanut because she was a mentor. She was associated with HUM MASALA SHOW for almost 6 years. Thousands of viewers learned to cook by watching her show. She was found engaged with other TV programs too. Everyone of those watching television in Pakistan was familiar with such a humble lady. She was like a guardian, teacher, and a strong woman guiding people, especially women, on how to live a healthy and successful life and advised how to resolve day to day problems.

Besides her cooking expertise, Zubaida Apa was also famous for her housekeeping advices (Totkas) which she used to give to viewers during her TV shows. She is one of the most prominent cultural personalities of Pakistan. Starting her career as a cooking expert at the age of 50, she gained immense popularity on account of her knowledge and experience in home remedies. She is well-known for her personal culinary style and for her real love of traditional food. Her kitchen and household advices are significantly influential on the Pakistani society.

Zubaida Apa came into limelight in the late 1990s due to her recipes and famous home remedies or ‘totkas’. A working woman till the end, she had a popular cooking show, ‘Handi’, and appeared on several TV shows as an expert guest. She made her television debut in 1996 with a cooking show named ‘Dalda Ka Dastarkhwan’. The show soon gained huge popularity among people. Among other things, Zubaida Apa would guide her captive audience on how to lose weight, make ones hair softer, make homemade yogurt and get rid of bedbugs, among a host of other issues. Zubaida Tariq, achieved enormous fame doing culinary shows on TV and writing famous cookbooks. Her regular TOTKAS on various TV Channels became so popular that Pakistanis gave her the title of APA – which means elder sister.

The Desi Chef Queen was born on 4th April 1945 in Hyderabad, Deccan into a prominent Urdu-speaking family known for producing litterateurs, intellectuals and artists. Her family migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and settled in Karachi’s PIB Colony neighborhood, where she lived with her five older sisters and 4 brothers. At the age of 50 she made her TV debut in year 1996 in a cooking show and soon became a household name across the country because of her regular culinary advice segments in various TV channels.

In an interview to media, Zubaida Aapaa had disclosed that “I have never been interested in painting as I had so much else to do. But we all used to sing when we were young. My Mom played the harmonium, and apart from Sughra Apa and Umar Bhai, we all had good voices while Anwar Maqsood Bhai would play the tabla.”

Rarely does one see a family on the top of their game and excelling in their respective fields as the Maqsood clan. Zubaida Apa says the credit goes to her grandfather who was interested in the arts and gave them the opportunity to develop a love for poetry, books, painting and music. “My mum also had these qualities,” says Zubaida, making it a point to mention her at regular intervals during the interview. “She was a poet and would help us to write, she would sing as she had a lovely voice and also cooked extremely well; in short she was a brilliant woman who devoted herself to our proper upbringing. She led an independent life even at the age of 86, and till the day she died, she cooked, cleaned the house and tended to the plants which she loved like children. When it was time, she simply called Bajiya to her room and a while later she died in her arms.”

With her often surprising solutions to everyday problems, Zubaida Apa had worked her way into the hearts of millions of TV viewers in Pakistan and abroad until the end. RIP.

She often gave credit for her achievements to having grown up in a joint family including grandparents, uncles and aunts, apart from her immediate family. Her culinary advice segments on various channels had been very popular. For more than a decade, Zubaida Apa was quite the showstopper in her color-coordinated clothes, sandals and sets of bangles, with coiffured hair and makeup. Zubaida Tariq was a humble personality. She had a special place in the hearts of millions of her fans.

In a message shared on Facebook, Zubaida Aapa on December 31, 2017 wished her fans a Happy New Year and prayed that people’s troubles disappear in 2018.

Since the beginning of her career, she imparted her knowledge to the world regarding home remedies for various issues. Here are 5 of her best TOTKAS:

1. Oily skin
Oily skin is a problem affecting numerous people in our region. Zubaida Apa’s tip to attend to the issue without spending your money on expensive products was:

Mix together 2 tbsp egg white, a few drops of lemon juice and olive oil, after cleansing your face apply this mask for 5-7 minutes. Rinse off with water. You can use this mask once a month.
2. Dry feet

Dry feet can be a menace, especially in winters. Here is Zubaida Apa’s tip for making your feet soft:

Heat half a cup of mustard oil and half teaspoon of bee wax in a pan until the wax melts. A cream like texture will form. Seal this in a jar. Before going to bed, wash your feet and apply the bee wax and mustard oil cream on your feet and wear socks. Following morning wash your feet and massage with moisturizing lotion.

3. Cleaning gold jewelry
Gold jewelry, if used daily, turns dull. This is Zubaida Apa’s totka for cleaning gold jewelry at home:

Make a solution of 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp laundering detergent and 1 cup of water. Soak jewelry in this mixture for 10-15 minutes. After that gently rub with an old tooth brush and wash with water. Pat dry with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth.

4. Insects in cabinets
It is an unpleasant sight if you find insects crawling inside your cabinets. Apa’s tip for fighting this menace:

Dry Neem leaves in a cool, dry place and place them in cupboards, cabinet and even suitcases to repel insects. Replace the leaves after a few months. Neem leaves help keep insects away.

5. Frizzy hair
We all know what a terrible mess our hair become, especially in summers. Here are Apa’s tips to address the issue:

• Apply oil in your hair twice a week

• If you feel your hair is dry and dull, sprinkle a little milk on them and comb. You will see that your hair will become softer

• Make a mixture of one egg, 1 tsp olive, coconut or mustard oil and 1-2 tbsp yogurt. Apply the mixture on your hair once a month for half hour. Shampoo.

Now on wards whenever anyone of us sitting on a Dastarkhan, enjoying Desi Foods, would certainly remember Zubaida Aapaa and pray for her soul to rest in peace.

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