- 27,99 zł
MONSOON DIARY weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines authentic vegetarian recipes from South India with tales from Shoba Narayan's life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and reflections on Indian culture.
Shoba recounts her childhood in South India, a portrait of small-town life richly populated by characters like the flower woman who brings jasmine for the gods, the milkman who names his cows after his wives, and the iron-man who picks up red-hot coals with his bare hands. Food is so important to her family that when Shoba wins a scholarship to study in America, they only agree to let her go if she prepares a successful banquet. She returns home to an arranged marriage - to her surprise, the family have chosen well - and later there are visits from her many relatives, old and new, to her home in New York City.
In MONSOON DIARY, Shoba Narayan's culinary talent is matched by stories as varied as Indian spices - at times pungent, mellow, piquant and sweet. Her characters, like Shoba herself, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life.
Narayan, who grew up in Chennai, India, writes in humorous, tender prose about her family and their love of food. Rituals surrounding food are central to every aspect of life, such as the choru-unnal ceremony of a child's first meal of rice and ghee. When her mother is pregnant with her brother and the women gather to feed her and chew betel, Narayan writes, "As they chewed and their lips and tongue became stained red, their jokes became more risqu , their gossip more personal, their bodies more horizontal." Food is intimacy and comfort, and Narayan's book neatly transitions between descriptions of her family's life and the meals that punctuated it. Recipes for staples such as rasam (a bean and rice comfort food) a wonderful recipe for upma (a semolina vegetable stew) which she serves to a grumpy group of Americans complement more festive recipes for snacks and meals such as inji curry (a pickle with ginger and tamarind). When Narayan comes to America for a year at Mount Holyoke, she misses her native food but, in a hilarious sequence of events involving two dead goldfish, chances upon a taxi driver from Kerala whose wife feeds her olan, made with pumpkin, black-eyed peas and coconut milk. Narayan's sparkling, insightful narrative makes for a delightful cultural and culinary read.