Early in the morning a friend and I go on a walk together over the phone. It gets us out of the house, something we both need, me because I no longer have a bossy dog who insists and her because she is working from home because pandemic. Yesterday morning as we walked and talked, I noticed a brand new Free Little Library, just two houses up from mine. There were only 3 books in the library, but I knew that would change. I gathered a few books I was ready to let go of and added them to the library. This morning I could see that there were even more books in the library. The bright yellow spine with the red printed Indian(-ish) glowed out at me. I love cookbooks. They are my weakness. I grabbed it and as soon as I got home I started reading it. I read it cover to cover, laughing many times along the way.
Priya Krishna is delightful and if I watched more cooking videos I would have known who she was immediately. In addition to her food writing, she was also part of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen. She left the Test Kitchen in August of this year when it became clear that Conde Nast was not interested in treating their BIPOC employees and contractors fairly. Today has basically been Priya Krishna day as I have caught up on her writing and videos (not the BA videos, F those guys).
I am making a grocery list and looking at what I need to source on Amazon. Normally I would be dreaming of what I would make for a dinner party, but with a pandemic that definitely isn’t happening. Indian(-ish) is a very casual cookbook with a goal towards helping people incorporate recipes and techniques into their everyday routine. A lot of the recipes are the homey sorts of things I would cook for myself if I had fresh curry leaves and chaat masala on hand (I will soon have them on hand). I was particularly pleased to see the number of bread + potato recipes. Bread and potatoes are beautiful together. I plan to make the aloo paratha and pav bhaji as soon as I get some potatoes.
One of the best things about Indian(ish) is Krishna’s love and appreciation for her family. The cookbook would not have happened without her mother, Ritu, who has an author credit. Many of the recipes come from family members and she delights in them. When describing the only chicken recipe in the book, Garlic-Ginger Chicken with Cilantro and Mint, Priya says:
Whenever my aunt would make it on a family vacation, she’d disappear for a half hour and reemerge with a Ziplock bag filled with the marinade and the chicken breasts. No one(not even her only daughter, Isha) was allowed to know the contents…Well, folks, I am here to tell you that, after much negotiation, I have finally pried that chicken recipe out of Sonja’s hands.
Sprinkled throughout are the illustrations of pop artist Maria Qamar. They add to the personality and feel of the book. Really, every page from the Introduction (written by Padma Lakshmi) to the Acknowledgements are worth a look. This was a nice way to spend a Friday.