But choose some I must, and I have. As you can make out from the picture, I own many, and only a few have been ignored routinely, principally because the ingredients are hard to come by. I have, on a couple of occasions, lugged a few of them to work and given them away, but am unable to part with the rest even though they are impractical for the Indian situation or my eating habits. All of us own things like that, don’t we?
To get down to the subject, one of my regular books is the Telugu ‘Kantamani Vantakaalu’ – the purplish one on the left, in the foreground. I resort to this most often when I’m beset with doubts about everyday food. Does Bengal gram go into the tempering, or am I imagining it? Do I temper the vegetables going into the chutney and then grind, or do I grind and then temper? This book is good to deal with these doubts.
It’s for similar reasons that I like Cooking At Home with Pedatha. This is the only book I’ve noticed that tells us exactly how to temper a dish – what goes in first, the mustard seed or the urad dal, and it’s fail-proof.
At the back, there’s Hyderabadi Cuisine, by Pratibha Karan. I love it for its looks, and I’d better – I waited years to buy it, mooning over it every time I saw it or went to see it in the store, always reaching out for it but holding back, and finally, buying it. It’s so expensive my lending library still hasn’t bought it, after all these years, and I have. (I’ve bought several other books that the library has resolutely refused to, but that’s another issue altogether.) Anyway, this is a book to possess, and the word is not being used idly, but with most of the associations, connotations and implications that possession denotes. Yes, it’s a trophy book, but not a b/himbo as far as I can see – I’ve tried a couple of recipes from that book, and they work.
Next to that, you see the Readers Digest 30-Minute Cookbook – it has even more h/bimbo appeal, not to mention substance; it’s a pleasure to cook from provided you get all the ingredients in India. And it was gifted to us by an uncle, who seemed to have ordered it with us in mind.
This post is being sent off to Nags of For the Cook in Me for the event Show Me Your Cookbook – I’m certainly not shy, I haven’t shown you myself but I’ve shown you half of my cookbooks, and would show you the rest if only I could figure out a way to take a 360-degree picture of this pile!
Cookbooks Show Me Your Cookbook