One thing you should have


I am very sure that there are many people out there who are inspired by Sisca Soewitomo's (Ibu Sisca's) cooking show that started in the '90s. That was why I jumped on the chance of being able to talk to her in person, in preparation of the Ubud Food Festival 2016. Knowing that her fans would be out there in social media, I shared with our friends at Rasamasa's Facebook dan Instagram the chance to ask Ibu Sisca a question or two.

There are many interesting questions that came in, here are the few that was answered directly by Ibu Sisca:

Pujeh Tin, Facebook:

How did you learn how to cook?

If asked of when I started and why I like to cook, it all started when I was small. I grew up in Surabaya. At the time, there was no bakery or cake shop or malls that any cookies or food must be made at home. My grandmother and mother made them all. By watching them, helping them, I grew to love cooking.

One thing that I will never forget is that every Ramadhan, my grandmother always made her own cookies. The cheese sticks that we know as kaastengel, ones that are the size of a finger, is very easy to make. We just need to mix, and then shape. The interesting part is in baking them. At the time, there was no oven like now. We used oven with aluminum-like material. We made fire out of wood and charcoal, some we placed below the tray, and the rest we placed over the tray. Then we basted the surface of the cookies, not using a brush, but using a chicken feather.

My grandmother would always say in Dutch, "It must be done neatly."

It was very difficult. I was about 5 to 6 years old then, I was very little.


Novie Wardhani @noviewardhani, Instagram:

Has there been times when you just don't feel like cooking?

Never. Cooking is not something that is a burden for me. Even when I am tired, and I have to test a recipe, it is never a burden. It's in fact a nice distraction. I never feel burdened by cooking.


Permata Suci, Jakarta, Facebook:

Waaa… I'm such a fan of Ibu Sisca!

What are the tips so that people like our cooking?

Cook with love, for whoever it is. Love is something that we consider sacred. When we cook, we will try to cook as delicious as possible. For whom? For everyone? Don't aim too high, just cook stir fry. If you are in a bad mood, and you don't feel like cooking, don't do it. Even a stirfry can be too salty or have too much soy sauce.

Everything is nos made easy, everything is available. One thing you should have is the intention to really, really cook.


Sepa Kusidha Wati, Facebook:

Do you have a favorite food that you often cook with your family, and if so what is it and why?

The dish that I often cook at home, is very easy such as Sop Buntuk (Oxtail Soup). I would cook the oxtail in a pressure cooker. In the cooker, I would give a bit of ginger and kaffir lime leaves. Then cook it in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, but don't open it immediately. For at least 2 hours, don't open it as the cooking process would still continue. Wait until it reaches zero degree Celcius. Then start to add in the spices, salt, pepper, sautéd shallot with margarine. If you like garlic, then add them in. Add in nutmeg, and vegetables. We can use carrot and potatoes. That's it.


Erin Triana, @erintriana, Instagram:

Is there anything that you don't like to cook? If so, what is it and why?

Everything is easy nowadays, so it depends on your mood. Do you want to cook it? For example, if I want to cook a rendang. Okay, you know that rendang takes a long time, three hours to cook. I will be responsible for it for three hours. If I don't have time to make it, then I won't do it. Make it easy. I always prioritize so I can do it comfortably.


@omajeni, Instagram:

What is your secret recipe to be still be so youthful, Ibu Sisca?

Always think positive. If a thing has to be done, it has to be done. Don't procrastinate. Yo itu paringane Gusti Alloh, Subhanalloh. I don't have any limitation when it comes to eating, how can I? I can't eat sweets though because I tend to have diabetic running in the family. Everytime I pray in the morning, I ask God to bless me with a heart that is not anxious (rushed), and to feel lighthearted, to show me the way that is blessed by him. I pray that what I do would benefit many. Each night, I would pray thank you to God for an entirely pleasant day.


By the way, Ibu Sisca did leave us two of her books that she has signed, to pass to two lucky friends: one from Facebook and another from Instagram. Who would be that lucky person? Wait for it in our Rasamasa pages!

Ibu Sisca will be doing some sessions at the Ubud Food Festival (UFF) 2016, during 27-29 May 2016. For those who attend this program, the schedule is available through the program book or through this link.

Apart from Ibu Sisca, there are other cooks, chefs, food writers and food producers who will be there. For snippets of the event, follow our Rasamasa FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, or UFF 2016 FacebookInstagram, dan Twitter.

UFF 2016 is an annual culinary event, which is in its second year. For those who have not been able to attend this year, there will still be next year!