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Mother Earth, Sister Seed: A book that celebrates age-old farming techniques of India

Lathika George’s new book Mother Earth, Sister Seed: Travels Through India’s Farmlands was launched in Delhi’s Dilli Haat with a unique food trail, which allowed participants to sample recipes from the book.

books Updated: Mar 24, 2018 11:44 IST
Nabanita Das
Nabanita Das
Hindustan Times
Lathika George,Penguin,Mother Earth Sister Seed
Mother Earth, Sister Seed is a book that travels through India’s farmlands.(Priyansh Kumar)

How to make the most of a sunny spring afternoon? How about gorging on the lost indigenous recipes of India as you walk down Dilli Haat at a food trail, amid a congregation of book lovers and bloggers, to sample recipes from Lathika George’s new book — Mother Earth, Sister Seed — in the Capital. The book is not just another narrative documenting the depressing conditions of farmers and their increasing suicide rates — it documents how our producers are returning to old farming techniques, discarding chemical-rich fertilisers and producing good crop, sustaining healthy life.

Lathika Geroge with her new book, Mother Earth, Sister Seed ( Priyansh Kumar )

“Organic is the way forward. I visited farmlands in Dehradun where I met young farmers who have come to learn about age-old techniques to preserve seeds. It is a pity that they have to learn these processes now; something they could have easily picked up from their forefathers,” says Lathika, as the visitors bite into their amaranth kathi rolls and sip on masala chai at an organic store, which is also the first stop at the food trail.

Steamed rice and Yongchak chutney ( Priyansh Kumar )

Conversations around food and lost recipes from India’s Northeast join the trail, as the visitors move to the next stop, which happens to be the Manipur stall. The visitors are served steamed rice and yongchak chutney. The hot, spicy dish, made from petai pod, is traditionally cooked without oil, by steaming. The vegetable being seasonal, this delicacy is a spring special. And indeed, the emotion, the wait for a seasonal fruit adds greatly to its flavor. For instance, explains George, “The feeling experienced while having mangoes in the summer is unmatched.”

The trail now reaches its final stop at the Kerala Hotel, which serves appam and fish curry, staples from the cuisine of the state. The author’s love for farmers is evident in her parting words. “I wanted to write a positive book on farmers, and I think I have been successful,” she says, handing over packets of ragi halwa to the visitors.

Interact with the author on Twitter @nabanitadas09

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 11:43 IST