Book review: Flavours of food and fiction

  • Akshay Kapoor, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2014 15:55 IST

When you start going through the pages of this book, you realise that this has to be the work of a true food lover. Restaurateur Vikram Nair’s first novel, expectedly, has the magic of culinary art at its central theme. The story, which begins in pre-­independent India, first introduces us to Kalaam, a spinner of yarns, who after cooking chicken curry and rice for some English ­officers, enters the culinary world. Among all his dishes, the most loved dish is the vindaloo.

The second story that runs ­parallel to the first one is about Kalaam’s grandson, Pakwaan, who works as an assistant to his father in the Mahadev household during the 1960’s. As he is learning cooking from his father, Pakwaan desires to make the vindaloo in the same manner his grandfather used to.

He soon meets Svetlana, a Russian-American who comes to India seeking ­nirvana. How Pakwaan goes forward on his culinary journey by travelling to America, and trying to introduce the western world to the wonder of the vindaloo, is what the rest of the story is all about. Overall, the book is quite an easy read and is also full of some delectable descriptions of many food items.

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