Pioneer generation couples: Food a part of their relationship

Madam Sharifah is a superb cook who has prepared many delicious meals for Mr Syed. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Madam Sharifah is a superb cook who has prepared many delicious meals for Mr Syed. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Mr Syed Mohammad Syed Umar Shahab, 83, has eaten many delicious meals, courtesy of his wife, in the 54 years they have been married.

But he admits that the very first dish she cooked was hard to swallow.

It was about two years into their marriage and Madam Sharifah Noraini Syed Hussein Alsagoff, 77, was preparing dinner for the first time - the couple had just moved from her parents' home, where maids had done the cooking, into their new home in a kampung.

Not sure of how to clean a fish, she washed it with soap. Said Mr Syed, a retired meteorological officer: "Not wanting to discourage her, I said the fish was good. I got a bad tummy ache later that night."

Madam Sharifah eventually became a superb cook who now gives cooking classes and often prepares meals for her two children and six grandchildren.

Said the housewife: "I love my husband - he is loving and always cares for me. From the start of our relationship, he has always been a 'yes man' to me."

The couple had first met at a picnic organised by friends and waited for seven years before tying the knot, while Mr Syed saved up for their wedding.

Said Mr Syed: "During the picnic, I was watching her all the time because she was the busiest. I thought to myself that she must be a good girl because she was helping so much."

He still cannot take his eyes off his wife.

"She is the jovial type and when I am with her, I am happy all the time," he said.

Cheryl Faith Wee