Friday, 17 June 2011

Me, Myself and I

Well, this is a outstanding post.  A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned that I had been tagged by LeLa of Touching the sky is easier for birds. Lela had asked me to share seven things about me. I thought it would be interesting to give you, my readers the opportunity to asked me some questions.  So here are 6.

Some of your suggested a photograph of myself.  Well no photographs yet, but Thanks to my husband I hope you will find this characterization of me to be satisfactory.  I just love my Chefs hat!
Here goes.
Question 1
Lela of Touching the Skies is easier for birds asked 'What was my favourite and least favourite subject at school?'
Answer: I enjoyed English. I loved reading books and was described by my mother as the bookworm in the family. I had a vivid imagination and would often write short stories and poems.  I was a real swot.  At school I would always get A+ for spelling, handwriting and short stories.  I even kept a diary and longed for pen pals. Then something happened (some people call it 'terrible teens', I have another name for it) and I lost my my interest in imaginative and fantastical pursuits . A few years later, I found myself reading books again, but it was of the studious kind: text books, factual and statistical material, fortunately this was quickly followed by (cooking and) cookbooks! I did have a subject I disliked at school, but I will share that another time.
Question 2
Lela asked 'What is your favourite animal?'
Answer: Its hard to choose one, but as a teenager, I adored tigers and lions. Girls of my age had posters of their favourite pop stars or boy bands, my bedroom was plastered with posters of tigers and lions. I have no idea why I had this obsession with tigers. Maybe it was something to do with all those old repeats of Batman, and in my teenage vanity head, I thought I was Eartha Kitt - the original cat woman.  Maybe it was something to do with the tiger patterned coat my mother got for me when I was a child.  The other children at Primary school would often get me to purr and act like a tigress.  I even remember at school: when it was your birthday, you would get a choice to choose a hymn or song at assembly, and every one would sing or recite it to you.  Well I chose the nursery rhyme ‘Tiger tiger orange and black’.
Tiger, tiger, orange and black,
He's somewhere about,
So you better watch out.
Tiger, tiger, orange and black,
There on the ground
I can see his tracks.
So tiger, tiger, orange and black,
I'm going home -
Before he jumps on my back!
I was even given a large stuffed toy of a Lion by a close family member and that was in my early twenties.
Right now I would so love a dog, but lack of space in my present abode does not allow it. Maybe when we move to Wales this one wish that will come true.
Question 3
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe asked about 'my early memories of cooking. Did I do a lot of cooking as a child or did I pick it up as an adult?'
Gosh, I could rant on this for hours.  I never ever enjoyed cooking or any other activity that was associated with the house.  At the age of  10 or was it 11, I remember I began rebelling against my mothers efforts to domesticate me into a domestic goddess or good wife for my future husband.  There was often conflict between me and my mother around this.  I had other ambitions than to be a housewife.
I remember coming home straight from school, changing from my school uniform into my traditional South Asian attire; and going to the kitchen to accompany my mother with the kitchen chores.  She tried to show me how to scale and gut a fish, disassemble a chicken, knit, embroidery, etc.  The first thing I ever made was a chapati aka roti.  Not round. or thin, but shaped like a splattered pancake and fat, what is called a 'moti roti' and often chewy and inedible. I was still rather proud of my first attempt, until one of the neighbours came in and started laughing at my efforts and called it childish.  For goodness sake I was only 11.  The following week, my roti's were perfectly round, thin and edible.  I still disliked cooking and saw it as boring and a chore.  I was adamant I was going to be happy eating ready made meals.  Cooking for pleasure came much later, when I had to fend for myself at University. I realised that ready made meals were not going to be for me.  It was then that I became grateful for those cooking skills my mother had somehow managed to instill into me.
Question 4
Barbara of My Backyard Farmyard asked If I could 'share some of the gardening/wholefoods books that I have found the most helpful? inspirational'
Answer: I’ve shared some books that I’ve found both growing and cooking inspiration here and here. I hope these are helpful.  But the one cook book that I always go back to is Nadine Abensur's Cranks Fast Food And the vegetable gardening book that I go back to is Complete Book of Vegetable, Herbs and Fruit.
Question 5
Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes asked 'When I started gardening and why?' and what you grew first?
Answer: I can't remember exactly what, but something clicked in me whilst at University.  I think it was my new friendship with an American girl Leah (now my best friend) that may have sparked my interest in growing.  Talks with her would often get me to reflect on my past and my family: especially my parents who would grow herbs and vegetables in their small garden and then make food from scratch, always fresh. As a student, I also didn’t want to be eating toast, baked beans, oven chips and ready made, processed vegetarian meals.  A seed to grow and cook my own had been planted in my head, but distractions mean't that it never took off. Until I moved into rented accommodation and started growing in windowsills (without success).  This then spurred me to apply for an allotment plot. The waiting lists was 5 years. It was only after graduating and moving into my own flat with a small garden that I was really able to start really growing.  What I first grew? In the window box it was hardy herbs, but in my garden plot it was courgettes, golden ones of course!  When I got the allotment plot - it was everything and anything I wanted including purple potatoes.
Question 6
I've explained why I chose my original blogger name: Mangocheeks (which was Question 7), but I thought you'd find it interesting to know a little about my real name - Shaheen, which I recently revealed.  Shaheen is a unisex name.  My name was chosen by my paternal grandparents.
Thank you once again to Lela who has given me the excuse the reveal a little more about myself: my past, my present and my hopes for the future.


  1. Thank you for sharing all these personal details. I haven't though of asking you this, but am happy someone did ask you about the memories of cooking. It's always very interesting to discover other passionate cooks' stories and compare to one's experience.
    It's very funny, but when I was 10 or 11 I remember I loved baking cakes! On the other hand I always refused home chores, helping my mother in the kitchen and baked just for fun of course!

  2. Shaheen is beautiful, unisex or not. I have another question: What did you study at uni?

  3. Love this post and love that pic of you. Clever D!

  4. Such interesting answers to a nicely varied set of questions! I was a reading / writing fiend in my early school years too, and still love reading, but made the transition to science-y topics and statistics as I got older.

    I liked reading about your transitions into cooking and growing; interesting to hear.

  5. Interesting....and lovely to find out a little more about you.

    Your 'South Park' style mini-me is very cute....but where's the real you. Do what I did and hide behind a have to grow it yourself though!!

    Sue xx

  6. I love your blog ! Thanks for sharing a little bit more about the person behind it:)

  7. How great that you shared these seven answers to the questions...nice to get to know you better.

    There's a yacht here called 'El Shaheen'! Thought of you.

  8. love hearing a bit more about you - especially about cooking as a young girl - isn't it strange as a vegetarian to look back at all the meaty skills they taught us as young girls that now we have no use for - and I love the image of you in the tiger coat

  9. Shaheen said...
    Thank you Sissi.

    Other than trifle and a basic sponge cake, my mother used to purchase these.

    Hi Mark,
    Have I made the water even murkier?!

    Thank you e.
    I studied Anthropology - Social Justice - Sociology.

    Thank you Kath.

    Thank you Kari.
    Funny how we change with time.

  10. Thank you Sue.

    Glad you like my 'South Park' mini-me. It was D's idea, not mine, but I was swayed by the mini me. Re - the real me. I have made an appearance on my blog a number of time, you just have to look a littl clearly (although most images are from a distant or blurred).
    Maybe oneday I will get the courage to come forward.

    Thank you so much Toru.

    Thank you so much Gardeningbren.

    Thank you Johanna GGG.
    I should have updated about readers of my approach to tiger or animal style print clothing. As I child I had worn them and even relished in them, but as an adult - I never have. I don't think I can imagine me in one of them now, so its funny to read your comment.

  11. Oh so sweet! Lovely facts about you! You're not a boring person at all.

  12. Thank you so much Lela,
    You are really sweet.
    Once again, Thank you.

  13. It was fun reading about u and knowing you a little bit better :)

  14. I can't believe I missed this! Well, actually I can, I just don't have the same time to visit everyone's blogs regularly now that I have Cooper. I miss so much, but don't resent one litle minute. I did enjoy hearing all your answers :)

  15. Hi Jacqueline,
    Totally understandable. If I had little ones, I don't think I'd be blogging as much. Children are a great distraction and great at keeping you occupied.


If you’ve tried one of my recipes, Please let me know by leaving a comment below or tagging me social media with @SeasonalShaheen.

Thank You