Why Cook: Timeless Stories and Life Lessons from Inspiring Women
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This enthralling and moving cookbook profiles 16 Indian women, exploring their motivations for and styles of cooking. Beautifully written and photographed, it offers a remarkable perspective.
We first learned of author Archana Pidathala when she published Five Morsels of Love, an expansion of her late grandmother’s 1974 southern Indian cookbook. Her efforts to honor her grandmother connected her to other extraordinary women and led to an 11,500 kilometer journey through the country in which she met and cooked with those profiled here.
Some were old friends; others were newly met. In Pidathala’s account of their lives and their kitchens, we encounter entrepreneurs and activists, teachers and writers. There’s a mountaineer, a musician, an architect, a politician, a farmer. Some see their cooking as an ordinary, everyday act; for others it is part of a larger mission.
Why Cook includes recipes from places as disparate as Naggar in northwestern Himachal Pradesh, Darjeeling in the northeast, Delhi, Bombay, Madras, and Bangalore. Many are vegetarian. Those of us who have not traveled extensively in India might learn for the first time of dishes such as fermented mustard leaves and soybean soup; a stew of lamb trotters seasoned with ginger, tamarind, chiles, and cilantro; green papaya in yogurt sauce; and a salad of fenugreek leaves, cucumber, and coconut.
A wonderful demonstration of the best aspects of self-publishing and one of the reasons we search for interesting books from around the world.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.