Meat pasanda, keema kofta, moong dal shammi kebabs, chhoti puri, and yakhni pulao. Is your mouth watering already? Well, Anoothi Vishal’s book, Mrs LC’s Table is filled with recipes of sumptuous Kayastha dishes — so far an unexplored terrain — is here to satiate the foodie in you.
“As someone who really looks at food history, the Kayastha culture, which is the Ganga-Jamuni composite culture of India, was very interesting to me. It seems to be disappearing. Hence, I wanted to capture some of that flavour,” says Vishal, adding, “Of course, as it’s the food of my family, I know it best and that is what I wanted to put out to my readers.”
The recipes, inspired by her grandmother Swaroop Rani Mathur, or Mrs LC, are presented with ample anecdotes in the book published by Hachette India.
Throughout the narrative, Vishal has sprinkled the memories of her grandmother and her gourmet sensibilities with twenty recipes that speak of the Kayastha communities that reside in different areas of the country. “The narrative about my grandmother is quite personal and it was only after much thought that I decided to write the book through the lens of her life, and its impact on mine so that it reads like an engaging story as well. The intent was for the story to draw in even people who would otherwise not read so much about food.”
The author, who is also a food critic, believes that food reveals a lot about a person and a community. She says, “I believe that if you can eat comfortably with a person, you can live comfortably with them. That was the only advice I gave my sister when she was getting married! Also, I think food is a good way of remembering a person or a place. I travel a fair bit and all my memories of a place are usually associated with some food or drink that I shared with someone there.”
When asked if she will be coming out with another culture’s food through a narrative in a book, Vishal replies saying, “If I find a compelling enough narrative after this, then why not. But as of now, there’s no such plan.”