Super Foods for Awesome memory by Shipra Khanna

shipra-khanna.jpgI received the book Super Foods for Awesome memory by Shipra Khanna as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa Publications and am thankful to them for the same.
The blurb:
We are what we eat and so our memory is linked to food. The helplessness that overwhelms us when one forgets a name can be embarrassing. In this age of instant Googling, this is just the start of the ebbing process where memory is gradually relegated to a shrinking space in our brains. But help is at hand – and literally so!
MasterChef India Shipra Khanna brings to us recipes on a platter that help in strengthening both our mind and memory, from retention to quick recall. And the ingredients are to be found not in some exotic location, but in our own kitchen.
From chicken recipes that keep ageing away, to recipes made with coconut oil that help fight memory loss, and a fish that helps you meditate or walnuts that prevent you from going nuts- this book is a storehouse of interesting information.
Try her recipes and see for yourself how you can fight the complacency and sloth that come in the way of following an exercise regimen, or positive action. Super foods for awesome memory is the book that will guide you smoothly to a better life.
My take:
The cover of the book is beautiful. At the outset, the author mentions that she has compiled all the ingredients that help in sharpening the mind in this book provided one has them in moderate amounts and also mentions the importance of food, exercise, meditation and healthy lifestyle.
The recipes are simple and easy to follow. She has spoken in detail about the various ingredients like salmon (the fish that helps to meditate), poultry, extravirgin olive oil, avocado, beetroot (liver’s best friend), coconut oil (superfood), blueberry (highest antioxidant rich food), bone broth, broccoli (the cool vegetable), celery, green leafy vegetables walnuts, rosemary, almonds, egg yolk and dark chocolate.
She had also described some tricks of cooking like removing the smell of fish before cooking, ingredients that go well with various foods, recipe of guacamole, to mention a few. I was actually surprised to read so many benefits of coconut oil. She has also mentioned that many of these ingredients also promote weight loss.
While talking about each ingredient, she has started with their health benefits including their nutrient values in terms of vitamins and minerals and then given 5-6 recipes with that ingredient. Each chapter ends with a food for thought in which the author has mentioned some factsabout the ingredient discussed.
There are 80 recipes in all. The book has beautiful pictures, mouth watering recipes.
I loved the book and am planning to start with the fish recipe in the holidays.

DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from the publisher, Rupa Publications, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.

Bengali Cooking by Chitrita Banerji


I received Bengali Cooking by Chitrita Banerji as a review copy from the publisher, Aleph book Company and am thankful to them. this book is not just about cooking, but it is about Bengal, Bengali traditions, Bengali seasons (I know I am being a little specific, but the way it is written, what with the names of the seasons and months in Bengali, that I felt that the seasons had become regional, such is the description).

The Blurb:

Bengal is home to both Hindus and Muslims, and her people farm the fertile Gangetic delta for rice and vegetables as well as fishing the region’s myriad rivers. As recipes for fish in yoghurt sauce, chicken with poppy seeds, aubergine with tamarind, duck with coconut milk and the many other delights in Bengali Cooking testify, Bengal has given the world some of its most delicious dishes.

This highly original book takes the reader into kitchens in both West Bengal and Bangladesh by way of the seasons and religious and other festivals that shape the region’s cooking. Bengali Cooking is much more than a cookbook: it is also a vivid and deeply-felt introduction to Bengal’s diverse cultures and landscapes.

My take:

This is one book which has been written in such a way that anyone who reads it would want to atleast visit a Bengali restaurant to relish the cuisine. The book describes the Bengali cuisine in relation to the six Indian seasons and had been divided into four parts: Spring-summer, monsoon, early and late autumn and winter.

The book also has notes at the end which is followed by common ways of cooking Bengali food, suggested menus and an index. She also mentions that Bengalis are the greatest food lovers in the Indian subcontinent.

The book has a long introduction, it was the longest introduction that I have read for a book, 24 pages long. In this she talks about a wide range of things from the East-West Bengal difference in cooking; culinary difference among Hindus and Muslims.

There is also description of Bengal- the land, the rivers, the alluvial delta, the Bengali calendar year, the rotation of seasons, the abundance of fish, the rice fish entity being the heart of the Bengali cuisine, the use of ghee, Bengali literature.

She also talks about how the cuisine is related to seasons and has written the book in first person from her own point of view talking about her own experiences.

The author has a way of pulling the reader into the book and once you start the book it is unputdownable.

The book is not a recipe book but the recipes have been written in relation to the seasons, festivals and traditions.

Loved the book immensely.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.

Parenting in the Age of McDonald’s by Tanuja Sodhi

51Gk0q0MTeL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI received Parenting in the Age of McDonald’s by Tanuja Sodhi as a review copy from Rupa Publications and I would like to thank Rizwan Khan of Rupa Publications for the same.

On the back cover:

In an era when children have limitless food options- deep-fried chips, giant burgers and imported chocolates- and obesity is becoming a common malaise, PARENTING IN THE AGE OF MCDONALD’S comes as a comprehensive handbook that helps parents make the correct dietary choices for their children.

How do parents encourage choosy kids to eat right? How is the diet in your foodie son to be controlled, so that his body weight doesn’t become unhealthy? Are there items to be included in the food regimen of a young sportsperson?

Dealing with every kind of child across the diet spectrum- the overweight one, the picker eater, the underweight student, the young athlete, the stressed pre-teen, and the opinionated pre-schooler- PARENTING IN THE AGE OF MCDONALD’S is chock full of practical tips and real-life examples. Authored by Tanuja Sodhi, an established dietician, this book is certain to help parents strengthen the nutritional foundation of their children even when permitting the occasional fast-food indulgence.

My take:

The book starts with an introduction which makes the reader want to go on and on with the book. Mind you, it is not a one-time-read book, it is book which can be read along ie anytime or any day you want, you can read the book from anywhere.

The author has described the different types of parents and the different types of children. She has also mentioned how or what prompted her to write the book in first place. She has given a list of reasons why one may opt for the book and also mentioned that the book is not a thesis. The book has been written is a language easily understood by the common man with the objective of helping parents strengthen the nutritional foundation of their children.

She has discussed about balanced diet, micro nutrients and macronutrients; the importance of having fruits; vegetables and fibre in diet and the sources and recommended daily allowances of various micronutrients and macronutrients. She has called water- the divine cooler and discussed its importance; and called sugar-salt-fat, the triple monster. She has given a list of foods which increase our sodium intake thereby causing an increased blood pressure. She has also talked about foods that boost a child’s brain and calories required by active kids. She has also given recipes and a list of foods to munch in between meals. There is discussion on dealing with malnourishment and also obesity.

I feel, the way the book has been written, it would help both parents and children. It is interesting and easy to understand. The tips are practical and easy to follow.  I plant to give it to my eleven year old to read next because I feel this book would be of great help to her too.



Roomies / Foodies by Lakshmi Ashwin and Meghana Chaudhary Joshi

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Roomies / Foodies 
Lakshmi Ashwin and Meghana Chaudhary Joshi
The year is 2001. Two young Indian girls arrive in the U.S. for the first time, to attend graduate school and be room-mates. One’s a non-cook. The other’s kitchen skills are strictly basic. As luck would have it, both are consummate foodies. And it’s not just advanced Molecular Biology they’ll come to tackle—the daily challenge is to feed their stomachs…and souls…on a thinner-than-spaghetti budget! Part memoir, part cook-book, Roomies/Foodies compiles the experiments and culinary adventures of Lux and Meg as they stick to their resolve of eating only non-boring food! Written in a slick, hip, conversational style, this well-organized handbook bubbles with anecdotes, tips, tricks, cheater’s methods and over 60 lip-smacking recipes. Spanning an easy-to moderate spectrum of skills, Meg and Lux’s “Eureka moments” in their own kitchen will help spare YOU some painful trial and error in yours!
One day, exhausted, I fell asleep on the couch in the graduate student lounge at Roswell Park, waiting for Lux. Since we were on the same research campus, we commuted and ran errands together. In those early days, we were joined at the hip.
 It was a lot to deal with, this new life, with its sudden and crushing study load, having to walk or take public transport everywhere (I missed my Kinetic Safari) and we were glad of each other’s company. We started taking advantage of the subway and other modes of public transport to explore our town, checking out affordable food joints. One such journey introduced us to crépes. I tried making them at home and discovered a really simple breakfast item in the process.
Serves 4
Rice flour or refined flour (maida)                   1½ cups
Milk                                                                        1 cup
Egg                                                                          1
Slab of chocolate                                                     1
Sugar                                                                      3 tsp
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes for each crepe
Mix the flour with milk and sugar and beat in the egg.
Melt butter on a tava* or a flat non-stick pan on medium heat.
Pour the flour mixture evenly in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan, coating it completely.
Grate the bar of chocolate over the open side of the crepe, in a sufficient quantity to cover the top, while the other side is still cooking.
Gently lift up a side of the crepe to see if it is done. It should appear slightly browned and lift easily without tearing.
Fold the crepe in half over itself. The chocolate should melt and hold the 2 edges together. Remove and serve with a melting dot of butter on top.
Tip: For an interesting Cheese-n-Chocolate variation, sprinkle some grated cheese or small globs of cheese after you have sprinkled the grated chocolate. If you have no time for the grated chocolate step, make just the plain crepe and spread Nutella or jam, or cheese spread for an even quicker meal
Meghana Chaudhary Joshi (Meg) has worked in clinical research in the US, run her own socio-environmental venture and is currently Practice Manager with Mirai Health. She is a fitness freak who loves to travel and explore varied cuisines as much as the outdoors. Meg lives in Pune with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever.
Lakshmi Ramachandran, a.k.a Lux, graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2006. She is presently a science writer at the National University of Singapore. Besides Science, she is passionate about food and loves to cook. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two children.
Contacts them @

Twitter: @RoomiesFoodies



Twitter: @BloodyGoodBook


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Love, Again

823a8-untitled-12bcopy2b1Love, Again, comprises of two novellas, These lines of Mehendi by Sumeetha Manikandan and A Tulip in the desert Shrruti Patole Clarence.

These lines of Mehendi by Sumeetha Manikandan

The story:

Lalitha was married to Suresh for a few months before they separated. She now lives in Chennai and runs her beauty parlour with her aunt. She is famous for her mehendi patterns and her bridal make-up. Until one day, when she has to travel to Bangalore because Suresh is dead. Once she is back in Chennai, she loses her clientele because nobody wants a widow to dress up a bride.

Her aunt tells her to marry Shrikant, a confirmed bachelor, for the sake of his sick mother and her business. They decide on a marriage of convenience. He leaves for US with his ailing mother and she gets busy with her work and home. They communicate through whatsapp, emails and phone, and then their feelings for each other surface.

My take:

A beautiful book with very real life characters. The author has portrayed the society and its rules and she has shown Lalitha to be a strong character.

Loved the book, just could not keep it down till I finished it.

A Tulip in the Desert by Shrruti Patole Clarence.

The story:

Charmaine Rai, the only child of horticulture loving parents moves to Amsterdam with her family when she is studying in secondary school. Now she is specializing in ancient Egyptian history in Holland. Ira is her best friend and Raj is a new entrant from India.  They are also specializing in ancient history. Charmaine has read Cleopatra for the first time and is impressed and even haunted by her. It is when they go for a tour to Egypt that supernatural events start to take place.

My take:

The story is different from the other romances that I have read. The characters names match with the names of the characters in Cleopatra.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Half Baked Books

The Activist and the Capitalist by Vibha Batra

unnamedI received Vibha Batra’s The Activist and the Capitalist from the author herself as a review copy. It is the story of Anusha and Jai set in Chennai.

The story:

Jai Khanna, 28, one of the youngest entrepreneurs, became the CEO of VPK group after his grandfather retired. King’s Cross is his first project as CEO and he is passionate about it.

Anusha Iyer, 24, works for the Chennai Chapter of ITACC (Indian Trust for Art and Culture Conservation), an NGO. She joined the NCO after college and has continued to stay in Chennai after her parents moved to Coimbatore following her father’s retirement. Heritage conservation is her passion and so is baking and reading. She puts up a cupcake stall at her old college’s food fair every fortnight.

The story:

Anusha and Jai meet at a beach wedding. They go their separate ways and she continues to be in his mind. Six months later, Jai’s company buys Rasa Vihar, an ancestral property and they plan to build apartments for the rich. Anusha’s NGO is all out saving the heritage of the city and they meet again. This time they are at loggerheads.

He is drawn to her and tries to make amends, and they become friends and then her past and Rasa Vihar come in between them.

My take:

The story has been written in a steady flow and the speed does not slacken throughout the book. The language is simple and the characters are realistic. I loved it when he calls her Miss Firebrand Activist and she calls him Mr Hotshot Capitalist, this made the banter between them very real.

Book Source: Author

Publisher: Indireads