Test and taste - recipe of food writing - The New Indian Express

Test and taste - recipe of food writing

Published: 04th October 2013 07:51 AM

Last Updated: 04th October 2013 07:51 AM

Food is a akin to sex in more ways than one, said Prof Pushpesh Pant beginning his conversation on session ‘’Food Writing: How to Make it Tasty’’, sharing the dais with Tara Deshpande and Sujit Mahapatra during the Odisha Literary Festival.

 ‘’Food writing has the same appeal, charm, lure, temptation that erotica has. There are two basic hungers of a human being __ appetite and sexual desire __ and food gives you the same forbidden fruit kind of a charm. When you write about food, it appeals to some basic urges of a person. It either makes you toxic or is intoxicating…it makes you either euphoric or sad. In fact, a food book evokes nostalgia like a lost love …it evokes smell, taste and memories,’’ said the former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor who has authored the popular ‘India: the Cookbook’. He is currently working on book on ‘Paan’.

 Indian foods, Prof Pant said, are like the mighty river system. ‘’It has its origin and estuaries. From the origin in the Himalayan glacier to where the river meets the sea, there are several distributaries, confluences. Similarly, Indian food is a reflection and celebration of the country’s rich culture and diversity.’’

 Tara, actress-turned-chef-turned-writer who has authored ‘A Sense for Spice’, said food writing has really evolved in the last several years. ‘’Now, we have general recipe books, food books on travel, cook books on family recipes and so many different things. This is because cook books today have to be more interesting as they are competing with cookery shows,’’ she said, adding that even a plain recipe book is important in today’s time. ‘’Since most of us have forgotten how home cooked food tastes like, these recipe books are like priceless heirlooms.’’

 Contrary to the thought that writing cook was an easy job, Tara said it is extremely difficult. Her book ‘A Sense for Spice’ is a rich tapestry of recipes and stories that takes the reader from the lush Konkan coast to the metropolitan Mumbai. ‘’Every recipe that I put in book had to be tested, translated from original language, and adapted. There was also a sense of responsibility towards people who were going to buy the book,’’ Tara said.

The authors added that various myths related to  Indian food should be demystified.

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