Zahra Baig moved to FishHawk eight years ago from Maryland, where she had lived for about 40 years. She thought it would be very hard to make new friends because she was American-born but of Pakistani descent, new to Florida, had no friends in the area and had a 2-year-old son.
“One day, … I was at the playground with my son in FishHawk West and someone came up to me and introduced herself,” Baig said. “She would later become one of my closest friends, Josely Zimeri, who had moved here from Guatemala and was also new to FishHawk West. She was very social with a big heart. She started to introduce me to many of her friends, many of which were from different countries but now living in the FishHawk area.”
As mothers often do, they talked about what we were making for dinner and the two thought it would be great if we could one day share their different foods with each other. From this, the International Moms’ Brunch was born.
“As we got to know the community better and the community grew, what initially seemed to be a very homogeneous community was starting to show a bit more diversity,” Baig said. “We thought maybe we could help plan an international night at our local Stowers Elementary School to showcase the many cultures in our area, but it seemed to require more planning. Instead, my friend, Josely, came up with this idea of starting smaller by hosting an international moms’ brunch right in the neighborhood, a potluck style at the lake-house in FishHawk West.”
The two friends were surprised with a great turnout and by the great chefs they had in their community.
“So many dishes cooked with love came pouring in,” Baig said. “We needed more tables, in fact, to put out all the food. A few opted to bring the much-needed paper plates and utensils. Many of those who were born in America brought in favorite recipes or food from a certain region of the U.S.”
The brunch was held on September 15, and 32 women were in attendance. The group hopes the brunch will continue to grow.
“One of my favorite parts of moving to FishHawk has always been the neighborhood,” Baig said. “There is a lot of neighborly love here. So many of us have moved here from different parts of the country and the world. Getting to know your neighbors through their food has been a joy, whether it is just through an alley, street party, an international brunch or just sharing a dessert you made with a friend.”