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Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan

Monsoon Diary (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Shoba Narayan

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178566,644 (3.67)4
Title:Monsoon Diary
Authors:Shoba Narayan
Info:Bantam (2004), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:To read

Work details

Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan (2003)

  1. 00
    The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber (monzrocks)
    monzrocks: Another (great) food memoir that has elements of cultural confusion.

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Delightful book - this memoir starts when the author is a young girl observing her mother in the kitchen and learning about the art and meaning of South Indian cooking. Each chapter tells a critical story about Shoba's life and includes the recipe for the food(s) that are associated with that story. I enjoyed learning about the culture and mores that influence girls and women in this Indian/Hindu trandition and about how the author reconsiders her culture once she emigrates to the US for college. While I only have a passing familiarity with Indian cuisine, I must say that I definitely want to try more based on this lovely book. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Jan 3, 2010 |
Memoir of a young woman raised in India who emigrated to the US. Each chapter explains how the events described revolve around a particular food or recipe. The memoir itself is fairly interesting but nothing too unique; the recipes all include some ingredient that can only be found at your local Indian market (which not all of us have). ( )
  Cariola | Jun 6, 2009 |
eccentric family fun and love of food
  aletheia21 | Dec 7, 2008 |
A foodie book-recipes included. ( )
  jrepman | Nov 9, 2007 |
A gentle memoir filled with family anecdotes; this is not great literature but it is a lovely read. The author has a style that is wonderfully evocative of place. She draws a Madras (now Chennai) from her childhood that is such a faithful representation of the one I lived in for a couple of years that I can see the locations in front of me. This is the domestic Chennai that tourists never see.

Like many of the Desi diaspora, the biggest culture shock she experienced once she reached the US was in terms of food. Suddenly ingredients that were ubiquitous are difficult to impossible to find (not to mention ludicrously expensive) while the scarce Indian restaurants around tend to be geared toward Western palates, bearing little or no relation to the dishes for which one yearns.

Small wonder then that Shoba Narayan's memories are intricately interwoven with the flavors and fragrances of Indian food; each anecdote includes a meal, a treat or a festive occasion, and culminates in a recipe relevant to the piece.

I have tried a few and they are "housewife" recipes: they work and produce a reliable result. Of course, for some of the items we prefer our own recipes, but then again we are not Tamilians, and our own yearning is for subtly different spice combinations. ( )
  Sivani | Oct 10, 2006 |
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To my parents,
Professor V. R. Narayanaswami
Mrs. Padma Narayanaswami
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The first foods that I ate were rice and ghee.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812971078, Paperback)

Shoba Narayan’s Monsoon Diary weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with tales from her life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and musings about Indian culture.

Narayan recounts her childhood in South India, her college days in America, her arranged marriage, and visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York City. Monsoon Diary is populated with characters like Raju, the milkman who named his cows after his wives; the iron-man who daily set up shop in Narayan’s front yard, picking up red-hot coals with his bare hands; her mercurial grandparents and inventive parents. Narayan illumines Indian customs while commenting on American culture from the vantage point of the sympathetic outsider. Her characters, like Narayan herself, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life.

In this creative and intimate work, Narayan’s considerable vegetarian cooking talents are matched by stories as varied as Indian spices—at times pungent, mellow, piquant, and sweet. Tantalizing recipes for potato masala, dosa, and coconut chutney, among others, emerge from Narayan’s absorbing tales about food and the solemn and quirky customs that surround it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:58 -0400)

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