Not For You: Family Narratives of Denial and Comfort Foods (Book One)
Love. Marriage. Denial. Crisis. Fear. Abandonment. Determination. Food. Comfort. Home.
Johari-ba, Ratanlal and Shanta, Damodar and Pearl, Thakor and Mani, Shaku and Bandu, Ana and Ravi lived in different eras, in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. Their lives intersect together over time. They struggled for identity with a single-minded determination to persevere in the face of denial. They lived, married and bore children, carrying the scars and the stories of the generations before them.
What happened when they married, moved and migrated?
How did new regions, cuisines or communities influence their food?
What stories do their recipes reveal?
How did ‘denial’ change them and their definitions of comfort food?
What events curated their family’s culinary heritage?
Tackling these complex and yet tender questions in her first food fiction and fourth cookbook on Indian food, Not For You: Family Narratives of Denial & Comfort Foods, Nandita shares a heartwarming tale inspired by family lore about conquering public and private versions of ‘denial’ and how food became integral to shaping identities. Through these stories, this book explores and uncovers the origins of comfort foods that have a rightful place on one foodwriter’s 21st century table.
Nandita includes narratives across three generations highlighting pivotal moments that influenced interpersonal relationships, reflecting on the dynamic connections between her characters. These stories share how meaningful moments were carved out from mundane events, how one family redefined what was ordinary over extraordinary and what influenced their comfort foods for generations. She pairs these stories with over sixty simple heirloom family recipes for readers keen on an immersive literary and culinary experience.
‘Not For You’ is a two-part novel.
The first book begins in India and takes the readers through several rural geographies. It begins its journey back in time, in the late 19th century, into rural India. It reveals the ordinary lives of peasants and explores how their struggles with the political climate of the region shaped their futures. In this first book, readers will meet the men and women of that time, experience the choices they made and glimpse into how they changed the lives of their children. When they had little or nothing, how did they move forward? How did they raise their children? How did they persevere? The first book spans a period of nearly seventy years and ends just at the cusp of the India’s independence from Britain.
The second book begins in urban India, in the pre-Independence era and follows one of its lead character to the United States, where she settles down.