I have mentioned about my passion for collecting recipe books in numerous posts before. I shared my favorite collections in this post, and now I glad to add one more to that lot. When Tuttle Publishers, approached me to review their new book – “Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season” by Patricia Tanumihardja, I accepted happily, and when I received the book, I was so amazed and elated. (No I am not exaggerating) Read more to know why. :-)
If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai : A conducted Tour of India written by Srinath Perur published by Penguin Books India is a wonderful travelogue. As usual I picked this book via Good Reads but that’s not the only reason. The 3 letter word Ma-Du-Rai intrigued me and I purchased the kindle version and started reading it right away. This is my second non-fiction for this year. The first one was of course, don’t lose your mind, lose your weight.
The book has 10 chapters which explains the conducted tours of ten different places. This book is not a trip or food advisor. It’s more about the people and authors observations in his group during this conducted or the guided tour. He does cover two places outside India – Europe (rather I should say Adiya Chopra’s version of Europe) and Tashkent (Uzbek). The book starts with the Temple tour of Tamil Nadu and moves to Europe. But I got hooked to the book from the third chapter and it slowly grew on me.
I loved the travelogues about Jaisalmer, Assam-Megahalaya and the Kabir Musical Tour. To be honest, I learnt a lot about India. I had no clue about the Dharavi Slum tours. (Ignorant me). Seems like Dharav Slum tour is one of the popular Slum Tour (especially after slum dog millionaire) and that made me to read more about this place. OMG!!! When I read the facts about this place I was so surprised.
I really enjoyed his writing and his keen observations. His explanations about the travel guides are really great especially the Thar desert guide. Loved his reply, when he was asked how he learnt english. The reply was “Desert Knowledge Camel College”.
If you are a non-fiction lover and looking for a funny and an engaging read, I would recommend this book for sure.
PS1 : I have written about the chitirai tiruvizha here. I would like to add little bit more about Madurai. We all know Madurai is known for its temple especially the Meenakshi Amman Temple. There are two other temples too – Pazhamudir Solai And Tiruparankundram temples. The two of the six abodes of Lord Murugan. The other famous temple is the Koodal Azhagar Temple. The other major center of attraction and perfect shopping spot for vessels and golu dolls and also books is the 1000 thoon Madapam (Thousand Pillar Hall). How can I miss Tirumalai Nayakar Mahal? I have attended the Silapadikaram Light and Sounds shows there. Kannalaney from Bombay, Tera Bina from Guru was shot there and also Ragasiya Kanavugal from Bheema. :-) (Dunno if I have missed any other songs) Love that place.
Why suddenly about Madurai? Wait until tomorrow. :-) Have a great weekend folks.
PS2: These are my personal opinion and I haven’t received any remuneration for this review.
Image Source : www.goodreads.com
Wishing You All a Very Happy Pongal / Makar Sankrathi…
I am writing a review on a festival day strange huh?As they say “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” (“The commencement of Thai month paves the way for new opportunities”). So thought why not start with a book review that too about weight loss.
After My Mother’s Kitchen, this is my second cook book review. This book is written by my favorite blogger Gayathri. I love all her recipes and her measurements are so perfect that you can just blindly follow as is. I love and prefer egg less bakes. (It’s just my personal choice and preference). All my cookies and cakes in my blog are egg less. But finding the proper egg substitute is the key in egg less bakes as egg is one of the important ingredients in any baking. It acts as the binding agent and emulsifier and provides the moisture and the rich flavor.
I just fell in love with the book reading these lines. “Over time the ache in heart for her parents was filled with the pungency of coriander seeds, the sweetness of cinnamon and the bite of fresh chili peppers.” I love my kitchen and cooking is like a therapy for me. I loved the way the main characters in the book take refuge in their kitchen.
The author brings out the beautiful culture and practices of Kerala with the help of the main characters in the novel – Sudha, Ayah, Devi and Kashi. Her descriptions about VishuKani, Onam, Pongal and Diwali are very fascinating. I really liked the Diwali part where they make clay lamps by themselves every year with the river clay. A perfect eco-friendly diwali.
Her book brings out the navarasas (nine moods) of Meena’s childhood life and along with that the six tastes of food too. I was raised in a small town under the lap of western ghats which is 62 miles from Kodaikanal. The book took me back to my childhood memories. I felt nostalgic when reading about drinking the fresh tender coconut juice, eating raw mangoes, fresh jackfruit smell, drinking water after eating gooseberry and the idli batter making process using the traditional aatukal. (An old stone mortar and with a pestle). This time I took a picture of this aatukal in my native. And here it is. I wish I can go to my native now.
What I liked about the book is
- The beautiful description of typical rural Indian life.
- The Hindu mythological stories retold in a very simple way.
- Each and every chapter has both kitchen and day to day tips like applying oil in your hands before peeling jack fruit to avoid the stickiness or having hot water soak for cramps etc.
- And of course her authentic recipes. They are for sure kids friendly with less spice but with great taste. I tried a couple of her recipes, lemon rice and tea stall style potatoes. And they were yummm and the pictures are here.
A delectable read about beautiful kerala, the culture, the authentic recipes and the stories behind each and every recipe.
As I mentioned you will be seeing couple non-recipe posts this month and here is the first one.
When I was reading the background of Idiyappam and its references in Ponniyin Selvan I came across this book and got fascinated right away. My interest in historical novels, attributed to my interest in history of food too. So got this book and here I am to talk about it.
I am not an architect nor a historian nor a botanical scientist but just a foodie. That said I am not reviewing this book. I am just sharing the interesting facts from the book about our food. Also I don’t think I can bring out the facts in just one post.
The book is all about our ancestors, Mohenjo-Daro, Harappan culture, native grains, fruits and vegetables of India and how the invasion over India affected our food culture.
The author starts with a brief description of our ancestors and about ancient languages like Munda, Sanskrit and Tamil. It was very surprising that the English words rice and curry got its name from Tamil words Arisi and kari. Basically our story of food goes back to Aryan age. Architects were able to find the grains of burnt wheat and husks of barley still lying in the crevices of the storage granaries excavations. These were the same grains that were eaten by people nearly 4000 years ago.
The author then explains how weeds became food grains. Man used to look for weeds bearing lot of grains, tasted them and started cultivating them. Rice, Wheat, Barley, Millets and Ragi were all once weeds. Sugarcane and Banana are from India which went across various territories. Mustard oil and gingelly oil were also native to India.
The Aryans impacted a lot in our food culture. Agriculture being the chief occupation, they taught us the process of sowing, irrigation, seeding, transplanting, weeding, watering, defensing against pests, reaping and threshing. Crop rotations and seasonal sowing were followed 4000 years ago. Boling, steaming and fermenting, frying foods were followed by Aryans too. Paneer, ghee, buttermilk, and even shrikhand find the roots from Aryans.
“In the famous manual of statecraft written in 300BC, the Arthasastra of Kautilya, a balanced meal of a gentleman is described. This consists of rice 500g, dhal: 125g, oil: 56g and salt 5g respectively. This balanced diet mentioned so long ago is the same in essentials as the so-called recommended balanced diet which the Indian Council of Medical Research laid down in 1987!.”
I really liked all the chapters where author explains food and culture through other’s eyes. India had lot of Greeks, Chinese visitors and then the Mughals who invaded. From the beginning rice was the principal crop of the country.Mughals contributed new foods like biriyanis, shullas, kababs, pulaos. Author explains how each and every region in India prepared their food and what all fruits, vegetables and spices they used.
Then came the Europeans and britishers who bought in tea and coffee for us but took a lot from us. Europeans obseved Bengal as one the fertile and cheap lands and they had a proverb among themselves which said, “The kingdom of Bengal has a hundred gates open for entrance, but not one for departure.”
Foods that we take it for granted like tomato, potato, papaya, groundnut, pineapple,coffee, tea all came via europeans and above all chilli from Mexico. Yes, India got introduced to chilli just 300 years ago, till then pepper was used for spicing up the dish. But just imagine today, can our cooking be complete without red chillies or green chillies?
This book was very informative and really a good read.
Earlier cross posted here