Rohini Rana’s reminiscences of her life within one of Nepal’s most illustrious families conjure up images of plenty, of tables groaning under platters of food, of pomp and pageantry, glamour and royalty. The Rana Cookbook: Recipes from the Palaces of Nepal by Rohini Rana (28 years in the making, she writes), is less a cookbook…
Any story of India’s culinary culture begins with an enquiry into its ostensible Indianness. The first few fundamental questions often have to do with the origin of staple vegetables and spices such as tomatoes and chillies. That both were introduced into the subcontinent’s basic diet, with the colonial contact and that too only recently…
When I think of foods I’m likely to encounter in the Himalayan areas, I think of momos, thukpa, yak cheese. But wait. All these dishes are of Tibetan origin. With that comes the realization that I, and most of us, have little idea as to what is consumed in an Indian home located in the foothills of the grand mountains on a regulaar day. ..
The title and subject of the book stirred up a deep sense of nostalgia in me. My siblings and I grew up in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in our formative years. The names of dishes in this book—Kaande pohe, thali peeth, varanbhath, etc.
The time of impersonal recipe books with no introductions or context, is long gone. They have slowly and steadily been almost completely replaced by food memoirs, travelogues with recipes of dishes one ate around the world or history books charting the origin,
‘Storytelling is a simple make-believe but she has a knack for making her tales absolutely irresistible to young readers—her specific descriptions of food were the same. The specifics she mentioned are not elaborate—but opposite in fact—but the sheer pleasure she takes and everything from sardine sandwiches to cherry cake sings out of the pages,’ says Allegra.
Spirits in a Spice Jar by Sarina Kamini is a book about finding oneself, about reinterpreting faith and recording the poignant, emotive and deeply personal role which food can play in the life of an individual and a family. The autobiographical narrative is interspersed with traditional Kashmiri recipes but these are recipes tempered by the experiences and individuality of the protagonist.
To anyone who says vegetarian food is boring, offence taken! I’m not a vegetarian. I love meat, but raised by a vegetarian mother, I grew up with a healthy appreciation for vegetables and the various ways in which you can tease out their flavours. In most cases, leaving vegetables alone and using a light hand with spices and herbs does the trick.