It began many years ago with one question in a casual conversation. Over time, I began to obsess about it until it became clear. Like with all niggling ideas, you start writing things down. Committing bits of yourself to ink or HTML. And it grows, just like a foetus. Before you know it, your manuscript has been finalized, the right images have somehow come along, the editor is happy with it and you send your baby into the publishing black hole till one day you receive a carton. Much shrieking, laughing, crying, happy dances will accompany its opening. And as you pose for the first photograph, you are a published writer.
That’s what I have been through with ‘A Pinch of This, A Handful of That’. But that does not mean, I have come to terms with this new tag. We sent out promotional copies, had numerous impromptu celebration treats, received calls/emails/messages of delight and congratulation and yet it does not sink in.
But that afternoon, as I sat with my daughter on my lap in our favourite restaurant, something imperceptibly shifted. I sat up straighter, smiled wider and felt the energy that always comes when I talk about food. I remember the sunshine yellow interiors of Soam, the friendly servers milling about with their trays of absolutely delicious patti samosa, ghugra, schezwan potatoes and okra tempura, with my family and colleagues around me. I was being interviewed about the book. I spoke about the legacy I wanted to preserve for my kids, the tradition I refused to let fade away, the memories that a certain dish would evoke and the tenuous/mysterious/intangible connection between heart and stomach. And as my mother unwrapped the first copy of the book, that niggle in my brain subsided.
Now the book is out there, in the market, on the shelves, for sale. I hope that as you read my stories in it, you will be inspired to capture your own. That you will recreate a Kutchi-Gujarati-Garwhali-Pan Asian-Fusion flavour in your kitchen that will nourish your bodies and bind your family closer as it did ours.
You can purchase the book at a store near you or order it online. The details are as below:
‘A Pinch of This, A Handful of That’
(Published by Westland Ltd., December 2013, Paperback, 326 pages, Rs 595.)
Author signed copies are available at 10% discount at the APB Cook Studio.