December 05, 2013
Debunking Indonesian Food Myth

Concern over the disappearance of precious family culinary traditions led three women to start a website that chronicles home cooking and family recipes from across Indonesia.

by Hera Diani
Lifestyle // Travel and Leisure
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Having always been fascinated with food, and having had worked in food research industry, Rima Sjoekri found a lot of issues with Indonesian food, although it remains on top of the favorite list for Indonesians, even those who live abroad.
 
“I think there is a lost generation when it comes to cooking Indonesian food, because after our mother’s generation—starting with my generation at least— women were told to have a career instead of focusing on house chores and cooking,” said Rima, 45.
 
As her mother turned 80, she was worried that the family recipes would disappear if her mother passes. That concern was also shared by many of her friends, she said.
 
“Every family recipe is unique. It carries family history, and the process is intriguing. There is always a reason and motive behind every recipe,” she said.
 
Another issue is how complicated the preparation and the cooking process are due to the rich spices and ingredients.
 



With these concerns in mind, Rima and her two friends, wedding organizer Rubiana Fajar and filmmaker Shanty Harmayn, founded Rasamasa.com, a website that chronicles home cooking and family recipes from across the Archipelago.

Launched on June 22, Rasamasa gathers different cooks to share their best Indonesian recipes, posts video presentations on how to cook the food and lists the spots of best Indonesian food.
 
There is also a special section on how Indonesians living abroad strive to cook Indonesian food and find substitutes for the missing ingredients.
 
“They’re the heroes and heroines of Indonesian food actually. How they still insist in cooking the food despite the lack of ingredients,” Rima said.
 
Rasamasa, or “taste of time” in Indonesian, is a feast to the eyes and it is impossible to browse the site, seeing the pictures and the videos, without getting hungry. The pictures evoke our childhood memories of our mothers’ cooking, and make us realize once again how amazingly rich Indonesian culinary tradition is.
 
“We’re purists, so we stay true to the ingredients and the spices, although it’s not always easy, especially when it comes to recipes from East Indonesia,” Rima said.
 
“But we simplify the recipes because we want to debunk the myth that cooking Indonesian food is difficult.”