The f-word, family, food and vacations

DNA India, 26 November 2010

It was the first time in eight years we were going away on a holiday. A family holiday with dog attached. And suddenly, we didn’t have a clue on how to go about it. Every aspect of it, from packing to where to sit in the car to the things we wanted to do, came with three points of view. The only one who didn’t have a particular opinion about anything in particular was the dog.

And as the debate heated up, the f-word began speckling our speech. While the f-word may not resolve anything, it has a certain knack of being superbly adaptable to the vagaries of speech. As a sort of prefix or suffix, as an expletive of anger, disbelief, annoyance …

Mita Kapur’s The F-Word arrived in the middle of the effing around that was happening in my home. I dived into the book. It seemed the best way to escape the atmosphere of dissent. And each time I was asked ‘what do you think?’ I hollered back, “I am reading; can’t you sort it out?”

Thus, matters pertaining to the dog’s diet, the meal to be eaten in the car, were all dealt with while I read on.

I have always been a sucker for books that delve into personal anecdotal history. And Kapur’s The F-Word was exactly what I needed to escape the stress of planning a family holiday. For one, the book marries family facts and foibles with food. Second, it is an easy read as it takes you on a quick romp of various cuisines from around the world. If at times, the thread of thought don’t blend with the food referred to, the recipes themselves compensate more than adequately. In fact, that, to me, is the highlight of the book.

Especially the recipes drawn from Mita Kapur’s own home turf — Rajasthan. I would have liked a little more of that along with family recipes such as Mita’s Ma’s arhar ki dal tahiri, Mita’s Mummy’s malpua…

Each one of us have memories attached to the food we grew up with. Mita Kapur’s world may have nothing in common with mine. But it stirred in me a craving for my mother’s cooking. And as an added benefit, the F-Word put me in such a good mood that I gave the book to my husband to read during our holiday…

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