Growing up as a '90s kid, I remember Zubaida Apa for her elegance, not only in the way she cooked but in the way she carried herself with an altogether humbler and simplistic of an approach towards life. The late woman belonging to a family that was blessed with legendary artists such as Anwar Maqsood, the renowned poet and humorist, and Suriya Fatima Bajiya who passed away just a year ago, made her mark in the hearts of many.

Saddening those hearts today as she began her journey towards the eternal bliss, Zubaida Apa bid farewell to this world.

“I began working at the age of 50! My cooking capabilities were nil as my mum wanted me to get an education and only allowed me to tend to small chores while keeping me far away from the kitchen,”she had said in an interview to Dawn.

Being a sister to the already famous siblings, Zubaida Apa had been content with what she was known for until she realised she had her own set of skills to showcase.

“There was always a surplus of love and advice. When I had children of my own the home remedies came in handy, and also the substitutes for recipes containing difficult ingredients; cooking wine was replaced with white vinegar and cream of tartar was substituted with baking soda. My tips are simple and easy to carry out as I was a good listener and observer.”

Born in Hyderabad Deccan, Zubaida Tariq spent a simple life with her five sisters and four brothers. With no particular interests in cooking in her childhood, little did she know she would soon became famous for her unique cooking skills and household tips that people valued amazingly. Her Hyderabadi saaris and cooking techniques depicted the richness of the culture she inherited from the pre-partition times. A graceful woman in an Indian attire with her hair held back in a tight bun and complimenting the look with fancy bangles reflected her love for her cultural roots.

Zubaida Apa had been working for Masala TV since 2008. Her show Handi was popular amongst the viewers for the mother-daughter bond shared by the host Abeel Javed and ZubaidaApa. Her highly authentic home remedies also came in handy. However, controversies also fueled against her with the launch of “Zubaida Apa whitening soap” that aroused the rage of several liberals and experts who believed it was impossible to change the skin tone one was born with and that it promoted discrimination on the basis of color.

Her reply to the fuss created by the media over her product was: “I know the skin whitening soap tagline is improper but I can’t understand why so much fuss is being made over it? It’s just a soap ad! Why doesn’t the media comment on ads which show scantily dressed women?”

Apart from her live cooking show, she ran a restaurant along with her son quite successfully.

A treasure trove of household tips and easy to cook recipes, Zubaida Apa had been a complete institution. Her demise has left the nation in tears but with a strong message all the same: “Whatever one does should be done wholeheartedly so that other people can learn and benefit from it as well.”