The spices tempered in oil, the aroma of ground masalas and the cooking tips that help add special touch to any dish are highlighted by Deccan Chronicle while covering the awards won by our vegetarian cookbook at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards. Renuka Nandkarni writes an article titled ‘City authors’ cookbook wins prestigious Gourmand award’.
HERE IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE ARTICLE:
The pungent smell of spices being tempered in oil and the aroma of freshly ground masalas are not the only things you will visualize when you go through Cooking At Home With Pedatha by Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain. When you notice the little tips that help you add that special touch to any dish, it gives the feeling that Pedatha (paternal aunt in Telugu) is standing right beside you and encouraging you in the process.
This book recently won the ‘Best vegetarian cookbook in the world’ at the Gourmand Awards in Beijing, China. These awards are regarded as the Oscars of the culinary world and this book also won the Gourmand India awards in five other categories. Apart from this it was also chosen by the Gourmand to decorate the Leith restaurant during the London Book Fair recently – an honour, which only 10 cookbooks in the world receive. Says Jigyasa, whose husband is former President V.V. Giri’s grandson. “After winning the award, we felt so proud as Indians and that our work was recognized. We wanted to compile this book as a tribute to Pedatha (the former President’s oldest daughter who is now 85 years old). We had sent the book to be reviewed at various places when someone suggested we enter it for these awards and the rest, as they say, is history”.
The two friends explain how they used to regularly learn different recipes from Pedatha and once when they were cooking referring to printouts of Pedatha’s recipes, Jigyasa’s husband suggested that all the recipes could be compiled into a book. “It took us two-and-half years to document everything, design the pages and publish it ourselves. Some of the recipes had to be tested to ensure that they were perfect and because we were publishing it ourselves, care had to be taken while designing each page,” explains Pratibha, who also holds a doctorate in language.
So how did Pedatha feel about the book? “She was the most excited one, right from posing for photographs to correcting our recipes and standing by us through everything – you can say that she is literally the backbone of this book,” says Jigyasa.
Since this book chronicles recipes in a traditional manner, there were no compromises.
“If a particular dish requires spices to be roasted separately or a certain amount of ghee we had to be very specific because, there are no shortcuts or substitutes used. Pedatha believes that any changes, however minor, will alter the taste of the dish,” adds Jigyasa.
While talking about their plans for the future the duo say that they are working on some other projects, the details of which are still under wraps, “To tell you the truth this experience – the award, bringing out the book – has not yet sunk in,” they say with a smile.
(As featured in Deccan Chronicle, 20 April, 2007)