These Cookbooks By Women Showcase The Link Between Food, Memories, And Nostalgia – Outlook India

September 22, 2022

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Ammu by Asma Khan
The star of Netflix’s Chef’s Table and the chef and owner of Darjeeling Express in London runs an all-women kitchen and makes a biryani that has people queuing up for hours. Khan recently released a cookbook, Ammu, which she has named after her mother. It’s about their relationship and the food that brings them together.

The book contains 100 recipes divided into five chapters for each decade of her life, starting with dishes from her childhood and ending with what she cooks for her children in London today. Khan’s mother ran Lazeez, a catering service in Kolkata. The biryani recipe in the book is a very personal family recipe that Khan makes in a very old fashioned way. A lot of her food is presented with a cultural-historical context which makes it special. 
A Taste Of My Life by Chitrita Banerji
Boston based writer and food historian Chitrita Banerji is a known figure in in the food writing world because of her various works like Life and Food in Bengal, The Hour of the Goddess: Memories of Women, Food, and Ritual in Bengal, and Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices. Her books blend together memory, history, culture, religion and lived experiences in refreshing, thought-provoking ways, as anyone acquainted with these works will attest to. Her lastest work A Taste of My Life: A Memoir in Essay and Recipes, weaves together food and memories from her life to great effect. We remember food with strong personal associations. Banerji’s book is filled with these. For instance, she mentions a preparation she had in Bangladesh, a piece of hilsa baked into a savoury rice-flour pitha which had given her an unforgettable, eclectic pleasure.
Recipes for Life by Sudha Menon
The thread about food and memories gets reiterated in this book by Sudha Menon, an author and biographer known for her books that explore the ambitions, achievements, and accomplishments of people from various walks of life. She was inspired to write this book after realising that most Indian families do not document their recipes, resulting in the loss of significant portions of their culinary history and traditions. She contacted some well-known Indians and requested family recipes for dishes they particularly enjoyed – simple, everyday food our mothers prepare for us, food with stories, memories, and nostalgia attached to it. In the book you will find Mary Kom talking about her mother’s Kopi Bhoot, Tan and Ooti;  author Amish Tripathi talking about his mother’s  warm and gooey Rice Khichdi, with ghee, dahi, papad and a sprinkling of Buknu masala; and actor Vidya Balan drooling over her mother’s scrumptious Adai and podi. And more.
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