Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: Bong Mom's Cookbook by Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta

On the jacket:

The elaborate Sunday morning breakfasts, the seasonal delicacies, the preserves that made available non-seasonal flavours – this is the stuff of childhood memories. Tragically, given the sheer pace of life today, it has become harder and harder to follow in our mothers’ footsteps, to recreate moments of bonding in the kitchen, to maintain family traditions, especially when it comes to food.

Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta – blogger, foodie and mother of two – strives to make this possible in her own life, and yours. This delicious book travels from Sandeepa’s grandmother’s kitchen in north Calcutta to her home in a New York suburb through heart-warming anecdotes and quick-easy recipes. Find out how to cook the classic kosha mangsho, throw in a few mushrooms to improvise on the traditional posto, make your own paanch-phoron.

The new woman’s spin on old traditions, Bong Mom’s Cookbook is a must-have kitchen supplement for Bongs and non-Bongs alike.


First things first.
  • Before I could read it, my maa read this book. Cover to cover. And when she finally gave it back to me, she said, "Tumi ekhan theke dekhe besh koyek-tai ranna korte paarbe." (You can try quite a few recipes from here.)
  • This is not just a cook book.
So, I am not much of a cook and being married to a non-bong, Bengali food goes into my tummy only if I go to Maa's or if she is here. The most I manage is aalu-posto, as I hate cooking separtely for both of us. I did want to introduce the husband to Bengali vegetarian food items, but at the risk of sounding snooty, these items take a lot of time and hardwork to make. Not your regular, dice the veggies, toss in oil, put the same masalas in every sabzi kind of a routine.

So, coming back to Bong Mom's Cookbook, the book is a good collection of easy to make recipes, something not only misplaced Bongs like me can refer to, but even others who like to venture into different cuisines, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. What I loved in the way Sandeepa has put together the book, is how she has included anecdotes and occurrences from her own life to bind the recipes into a story. It's as much as reading about cooking, as it is about reading about a Sandeepa and her life. Yet another reason why I want to try these recipes soon is that Sandeepa mentioned she has not been cooking since forever. Which means she learnt her way through cooking, and that, to me, automatically makes her someone I would want to learn from.

The pattern of meals described by Sandeepa  do hold true, but possibly only in Bengals living in Bengal, that too, as she has mentioned, the current generation is slowly turning more health conscious and eating lighter meals. Even though I am first generation probashi in my family, with both my parents having strong roots in Calcutta, but I have witnessed such elaborate meals only when I went to Calcutta for my vacations. 

Recipes are explained in very reader (or, cook) friendly manner and I know I am going to start attempting them soon. Even if you haven't tasted these items before, I suggest you try because how else will you know what being a true foodie means!

Rating: ****/5


1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this review. Loved the bit about what your Ma said.


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