Life | Deciphering The F–word

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Deciphering The F–word
Text by Nasrin Modak
Published: Volume 18, Issue 11, November, 2010

Verve takes a fun and feisty journey into the food world with Mita Kapur’s The F-Word. The book is a rather interesting account of a foodaholic

Of course, the title will catch your attention but once you look at its cover, you’ll realise that there are other words beginning with the letter ‘F’. Think fiery, fresh, fragrant, famished, fun, flavours and certainly, family…see, didn’t it actually get you thinking. So, as you flip through its pages, don’t be surprised if quirkiness follows you right through the chapter titles and the narrative. The author, an uninhibited foodie has no qualms about confessing her love for good, flavourful, sumptuous food, no matter where it is served, which is why the narrative comes straight from the stomach...errr...heart! The book is a lot to do with how cooking is all about following your instincts and is often infused with a lot of memories.

She has blended her family members, friends and people she met (including a few distant relatives, some random cooks and a couple of food lovers) and their characteristics with places visited and local flavours and terms. Replete with funny anecdotes, a good dose of palatable recipes including the likes of cream of almond soup, murgh kesar malai and caramel soufflé break the monotony of the text.

The author hasn’t refrained from using Hindi and local terms in the text if at all it’s the only best way to describe a paratha or maybe the sheera at a local restaurant. What’s even more startling is her description of people and places!

AUTHOR SPEAK

MITA KAPUR

On her book...
I wrote this book for my daughters – it was something that I wanted to give them when they grew up. Cooking is an experience, a play on the senses and emotions, a coming together of flavours, textures, colours, aromas – it’s always fascinated me. Besides, being a part of a food-addicted family, there were loads of stories that I wanted to share – that’s why this book got written. When we eat together, we bond and grow together (width-wise as well).

On the Indian kitchen
It has morphed into so many avatars over the past couple of decades and this book is an attempt not only to tell familial stories but also to convey the inter-cultural osmotic process which happens in a micro-cosmic world of a kitchen. Having travelled to some countries and within India and experimented with new flavours, I simply had to put it across.

On the title
Well, I just wanted a quirky, naughty name. The chapter headings also were thought of in the same vein to go with the light-hearted tone of the book.

On researching for this book
It was fun to travel, go places, hunt down eating joints, talk to chefs and cooks, eat so much while sampling — Lucknow, Mumbai, Deogarh, York and various other places mentioned in the book were dream trips and of course I always came back a few kilos heavier. Choosing recipes was not a problem because I’ve only put in those ones which I am totally confident about. These have been collected, learnt or created over 21 years of being married.

On the narrative
I wrote the way I speak…straight from the heart. The anecdotes and the characters are real — they are all from my family; so they are portrayed the way they actually are. The places were the ones I visited. I just took care not to stray away from the focus which was food.

MITA KAPUR IS A FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND RUNS SIYAHI, A JAPIUR-BASED LITERARY AGENCY WHICH ALSO CONCEPTUALISES AND DIRECTS LITERARY EVENTS.

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