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Vidya Balan’s 'Adai' to cricketer Mithali Raj’s 'Sea Crab Curry', Recipes For Life features prominent personalities & is an ode to traditional food wisdom!
Vidya Balan’s ‘Adai’ to cricketer Mithali Raj’s ‘Sea Crab Curry’, Recipes For Life features prominent personalities & is an ode to traditional food wisdom!
‘Recipes For Life’ is a book that was waiting to be written. I’m not surprised that Sudha Menon authored this one with aplomb.
At the outset, the book ‘Recipes For Life’ looks swell. It’s compact, fitting snugly in the cusps of your palms, and visually striking like a magnificent peacock in a full bloom pose.
I’ve been a huge admirer of Sudha Menon and her non-fiction books, mainly for her concept ideation, organisational structure, writing flow, and style, in tow with her innate understanding and sensitivity of the subject.
In the author’s own words, ‘Recipes For Life’ is a labour of love and inspired by Pramila Radhakrishnan, her mother. It’s a beautiful sentiment that Sudha Menon encapsulates in this ambitious food narrative project.
Slow, simple, and farm-to-table living might be the buzzwords today, but our mothers and grandmothers (and in some cases, fathers and grandfathers) lived it by example and nourished us beyond the mere body.
The book is an ode to their traditional wisdom and divine patience in teaching us to live, love, and laugh over a hearty meal each day. It’s akin to the gratitude prayer that some families recite before every meal.
Sudha Menon is an interlocutor extraordinaire, gaining food sketches from 30 prominent personalities across all walks of life—artists, athletes, business tycoons, and chefs, mostly from humble beginnings.
“Just before I went abroad to study, Ma gave me a few lessons on cooking basic food-how to make a dosa, masoor dal, her biryani, different preparations with potatoes, and even the processes to follow when cooking a good meal. I am so grateful she did that. It’s because of her that my brother and I didn’t become the stereotypical Indian men who are clueless in the kitchen.” – Satyen V. Kothari, Serial entrepreneur
This book will have you eating your heart out when celebrity narrators share their timeless accounts that plays like a visual reel. Their precious repertoire of food memories is a treat.
Whether it is actor Vidya Balan’s “Adai,” Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s “Kesar-Pista Naan Khatai,” author and sports commentator Harsha Bhogle’s “Chinchagulachi Bhendi,” cricketer Mithali Raj’s “Sea Crab Curry,” politician-author Shashi Tharoor’s “Malakushyam,” or actor Tisca Chopra’s “Wadiwaali Aloo”, this book is a reminder of the treasure-trove called ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’.
“Festivals were a big thing in our family and the get-togethers were special, especially the extended puja festival when we would hop from family lunches and dinners to pandals where I enjoyed the khichdi meals a lot. I still cannot understand how the women of the house managed to put together such elaborate meals during the festival.” – Anupam Banerjee, Michelin-starred chef.
It will inspire you to try out some of these tried, tested, and loved recipes like I did while reading this book. This book will be my saviour when I want to try something new and unexpected for the family.
I’d highly recommend you get the paperback version of this book, as there are many recipe recommendations in the memoirs apart from the recipes shared by the celebrity narrators. The pages of my book copy are strewn with neon highlighter markings.
It’s such a pleasure to hold this little bundle of joy and walk around like a mother lioness with a regal air of culinary confidence sprung out of nowhere. A change from the normal scatterbrain that I am when it comes to the eternal horrific question – What to cook for the next meal?
The book’s a commendable joint initiative by the author (also a contributor in this book) and celebrity narrators as they come together with remarkable alacrity for our benefit. The book will prod you to document your traditional ‘hand-me-down’ recipes and seriously get into action before it’s too late.
Chef, author, filmmaker, and humanitarian Vikas Khanna sums it up best in his illuminating foreword: “In an age where the old, extended joint families of yore have gone and we live in tiny nuclear families where children know almost nothing about their grandparents, this book will help our children know about them, their lives and the food traditions that have stayed in the family.”
A year back, I’d watch with awe Sudha Menon’s IGTV videos on her Instagram profile under #LockdownMeals. Little did I know back then that she was churning more than just great food in her kitchen, but also this personally documented, detailed, and immaculately researched book.
Author Sudha Menon has an inborn perceptive skill for spotting the gaps and filling them with brilliant books like ‘Recipes for Life.’ I am incredibly excited to see the books in waiting that she has cooked up in her mind.
As of now, I’m running off to the kitchen to try the “Prawn Pulao” recipe from Kiran Manral’s household.
Author, poet, and marketer, know more about Tina Sequeira here: www.thetinaedit.com
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