Thursday, July 7, 2016

Socio Historical Journey

I saw this book lying on the table. While casually browsing through the pages, this particular picture caught my attention and the face looked familiar. 


Then I realized that this is the same lady whom I had clicked about six years ago  when I had been to Jew street in Kerala. In fact the location and the chair also looks same. 


That was when I had a serious look at the book which was titled “Cuisine Kerala” I usually avoid cuisine books, but I found this one interesting as it also mentions a bit about  the history of the place.

Like what induced the people from the British Raj (including Lord Mountbatten) to buy the biscuits from Mambally Bappu after he started his own bakery in Tellicherry (now Thalassery) way back in 1880.  


The sight of the Chukku Kaapi reminded me of how we used to have the Chakkara Kappi when we visited Kerala every year for our annual holidays. The Chakkara was made from palm sugar which had more health benefits as compared to the present day Sharkara (Jaggery) which is made from cane sugar.   


I never knew that these huge dhows were still being made in Beypore, Kozhikode. These were very much in demand earlier by the Arab traders and was also a mode of transport for people who dared to venture to “the Gulf” from Kerala in the early fifties and sixties. 


No fish curry is complete unless you add the “kodampuli” (Malabar Tamarind)  After preparation you keep the fish curry for a day whereby the taste of tamarind seeps into the fish. No wonder some call it “Yesterday’s Fish Curry” 



Whenever there is a Onam Sadhya, I look forward to this Inji curry (or inji puli as some call it)



As mentioned in the book, tourists have embraced the homestay concept which gives a boost to tourism


They like to try out cooking in the Indian style, or experiment eating from a banana leaf, though it may not be easy - notice the fork on the leaf? 



I like the layout of the book and the pictures. Kudos to Mr P N Shahnavas (and his photographers team) for doing a good job. Most of the pictures are candid and look natural.



I think the author (Theresa Varghese) has done a good job, considering the fact that she must have actually traveled the length and breadth of Kerala to collect all the information.
One thing worth noting is that these are not the regular recipes but are those that are handed down for generations where nothing is written down.

I also like the way credit has been given to each person who has contributed the recipe. 


I did a casual search and found that the book is  available on Amazon.in 

On the whole I should say it is a good book, as mentioned on the front page – a socio historical culinary journey through the Spice Coast. 


All pictures in this blog post (except for the second one) are from the above mentioned book.

22 comments:

magiceye said...

Would be a fascinating read.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
You made me drool!!! I love cookbooks (though not for the recipes so much as the ideas behind them)... will search this one out. Thanks for bringing it to attention YAM xx

Lowell said...

You must be a gourmet cook yourself to enjoy such a book. I'm one of those neanderthals who eat plain and simple with few spices of any kind. I guess you'd call me bland. Mr. Bland. :)

Lowcarb team member said...

It's always interesting to read books like this ...

Many of our family recipes have been passed down - favourite desserts, casseroles etc and it's always good to cook at home with mum, grandparents, Auntie's etc.- for many of us it's how we first learn!

Spices are good to use in so many different recipes.

Have a nice weekend

All the best Jan

Mary Kirkland said...

The food looks really good.

Liz A. said...

It's so great that they collected recipes that have been handed down in families. That's the only way these things get preserved.

Christine said...

This book looks like a collector's item! Thanks for sharing!

Anupama K. Mazumder said...

A great book to have discover, albeit by chance!

www.volatilespirits.com

liza george said...

Waiting to get my hands on this book.Also going to look up this sweet lady at the window while on vacation in kochi. Thanks for sharing.

Julia Thorley said...

You left a comment on my blog about how I shouldn't forget to eat - and then I read this! OK - I'll go and eat! _/\_

Rabbit said...

Great reading the excerpts. The book should be a good read and something to pass on to the next generation.The passion with which the author has dealt with the subject is very remarkable.

Pooja Mahimkar said...

really nice post!

Anonymous said...

Joe, that is Saira aunty (in the first picture), wife of Cohen uncle who was the priest in the Synagogue. She is still there and does beautiful embroidery and is taken care of by a Muslim. That is Kerala - Anna Krishnan.

Sandee said...

Now I'must hungry. I love all things curry.

Have a great day. ☺

Lux G. said...

Great to find a gem like this unexpectedly, right?
Thanks for sharing your find.

It's really nice to have not only a cooking/culinary book but also a bit of history.

A Cuban In London said...

That would be a great read! :-)

Greetings from London.

Insignia said...

Wow! Looks like a great read. I didnt know dhows were being made in Kozhikode and even to this day! This was something new I learnt. Injipuli and chukku kapi are my favorites.

Sujatha Sathya said...

You have done justice to the book. Nicely illustrated

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Lovely book review. Will look for this book. I usually collect such fine books on Indian cuisine - this seems like a gem to treasure. Thanks for the recco!

Jens Hamn said...

very interesting your post !!

Denise inVA said...

I enjoyed reading this post, very interesting. I would like to try cooking Indian Cuisine. I have only gone to restaurants before, but did cook butter chicken once and it was delicious.

Karen said...

oh boy, this one looks lovely. My daughter would love it.