I'd been reading snippets of Mita Kapur's The F Word even before the book was launched. A few illustrations with short tantalising explanations were enough to excite the foodie on me to start desperately searching for her book as soon as she announced that it was out. But it wasn't to be found in a single Delhi book store. Not surprising considering that Harper Collins hadn't launched it yet in Delhi.
So when the invitation came for the book launch at Cafe Zaffiro in Zamrudpur on the 15th, I jumped at the opportunity and dragged my visiting Sister-in-law along.
Driving to Zamrudpur was an expedition in its own right. Fortunately Cafe Zaffiro had put up enough sign boards to assure us that we were headed in the right direction. And when we reached there I realised that the hardest-to-reach places in Delhi can throw up suprising little gems.
Cafe Zaffiro is attached to Zaza Home - a store that sells clothes and knick knacks for around the house and kitchen. There were plenty of little items catching my eye, but we didn't want to be late and so we rushed upstairs to the terrace where the launch was to be held. And a good thing that we did, because inspite of sufficient seating, the location soon became a standing room only affair.
She said her motivation to write the book, came from her husbands threat to write a sex story that would be sold at Railway stations across the country, if she didn't write something more substantial herself.
I must mention here that the book is not just a collection of recipes. It is part autobiography detailing the struggles of a working woman trying to feed a nutritious diet to her husband and children which is still exciting enough to eat and slowly trying to healthify traditional Indian recipes which are tasty but heavy and rich. Part memoir and partly a legacy that she wanted to leave to her children with a dose of advice and tips on how to cook healthy meals in a hurry.
The book can be enjoyed as a good read with enough recipes in it to excite the foodie reader yet not distract the casual reader from the humour in the stories behind the food.
Rocky and Mayur from Highway on My Plate were there to help launch the book and both confessed to not having read the book entirely. With Mayur confessing that his lack of reading skills made him depend on his wife to tell him what the book was about.
A triologue followed with Rocky & Mayur inviegling invites to be adopted by Mita and her Mother-in-law and be fed for perpetuity.
When asked if she had ever faced any disaster in the kitchen, she remembered the time, she and her sister-in-law had first made Gulab Jamuns from a pre-mix. The recipe called for making tiny balls. But her sister-in-law declared that they were too tiny and stingy and should be made much bigger. So what looked like regular size jamuns when rolling into balls, expanded to the size of cricket balls when being fried.
The Audience was then treated to some traditional Suryamukhi kebabs (with smoked meat) whose recipe is also in the book. The rest of the snacks served were also very tasty. But as we were in a hurry, I didin't find out if the preparations were from Mita's repertoire or the kitchens of Cafe Zaffiro.
I'm still reading the book and will review it on Jhovaan - My Food Blog once I have cooked a couple of dishes from the book.
The book is now available in Delhi bookstores. I saw it at Om Books the other day. The Jaipur launch is on the 30th.
And I will go back to Zamrudpur to investigate that market further.