After penning down her first cookery book in 2011, titled Any Day Veg Delight, Swarn Gakhar is back with lessons in cooking — this time in Hindi — in her book, A to Z Cooking Book.
Gakhar, 72, is a former head of department of Economics at the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11. If you expect the elderly lady to have known cooking since she was a young girl, you are mistaken. “Having been a professor and being married to one, there were a lot of social gatherings for us to attend. I remember having guests over for dinner and being clueless about how to cook. Though I had a passion for cooking, I never found the time to indulge since I was working,” says Gakhar.
The former professor even remembers the first dish she made — a karela (bitter gourd) recipe — which she confesses was ‘terrible’. “And here I am today, penning books on cookery,” she smiles. From different kinds of salads, sherbets, snacks and chutneys to oil-free dishes, desserts and even rotis — the book helps you prepare a full-fledged north-Indian meal. “I am never shy of approaching chefs at restaurants and including their recipes in my book, which helps me add a different flavour to it,” reveals Gakhar.
The reason for writing her second book in Hindi, she says, is to ensure that it caters to all kinds of readers. “After the first book, readers and publishing houses requested me to write a cookbook in Hindi. In India, every house has a chef in the form of the housewife, who may find reading in Hindi more comfortable,” Gakhar reasons.
She adds that her cookery book is written in a way that aids men who like cooking, help their wives in the kitchen. “The other reason to write this book was to make cooking stress-free. Usually, husbands feel that cooking is very easy and take their wives for granted. But, the truth is that cooking is quite technical and demands a lot of accuracy that comes from reading cookery books. So now, even men should and can cook at home, without feeling stressed,” says Gakhar.
Gakhar’s third book on cooking is close to completion, she tells us, whose co-author is the head chef at Hotel Chandigarh Beckons, Sector 42.
A to Z Cooking Book is published by Unistar Books and priced at R200.