Monsoon diary: A Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan

ImageThis book is a narrative memoir of Shoba Narayan’s nostalgic reminiscence of her childhood to adulthood. She writes the recipes of foods described in her book relating  them to various stages of her life. She starts with the first meal of a six month old infant, her early childhood at her maternal grandparents’ house in a small town where her grandmother made vatrals and vadams with the help of her maid, Maariamma; the pets at her home and the effect of diet on the nature of an animal. She explains very diligently about the series of helps that came to their house in Madras every morning from the milkman, Ayyah, iron man, garbageman and the flower woman.

She describes her school friends, the lunch hour at school, lunch boxes shared/exchanged; her trip with her parents and brother to Adyar Woodlands; the train journeys for which they would carry food from home; her mother’s culinary classes; her vacations in Kerala; her cousins and her college days in Madras. She describes how desperate she was to study in America and how her uncle tells her that if she could impress the family with a vegetarian feast, she could go to America.

She talks about her college days in America, classes and her weekly comfort food at Mount Holyoke, “yogurt rice”. Though she goes to study psychology, she takes up sculpture later. She talks about her arranged marriage, excitement of everybody in her house when the boy’s family comes, her husband’s liking for Indian food, visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York City.

I really enjoyed the book and could not put it down. I also tried various recipes, upma being my favourite.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Penguin


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