Deccan Chronicle

Book Review l Mrs K M Mathew's Finest Recipes: Life And Recipes of a Culinary Genius

Deccan Chronicle.| Neil Pate

Published on: August 22, 2023 | Updated on: August 22, 2023
Mrs K M Mathew's Finest Recipes

Mrs K M Mathew's Finest Recipes

The name Annamma Mathew (aka Mrs KM Mathew) is synonymous with Kerala cuisine. From pineapple and pickled mango pachadis to pork vindaloo, beef chilly fry, and Malabar fish curry, Mrs Mathew rustles up magic in the kitchen and her cookbooks. For the uninitiated, Mrs Mathew was a renowned journalist, editor, and cookbook author. She has written over 27 books. The latest one, Mrs K M Mathew’s Finest Recipes was published posthumously by her family.

 Authentic, simple, easy-to-cook, and ready-to-eat recipes written lucidly in a language that matched her cooking style — simple, and hands-on. There is no room for today's high-decibel pots and pans banging or tantrum-throwing chefs in Mrs Mathew’s style of cooking. Her recipes and preparation style are therapeutic, soul food, or manna from above! Food that is cooked with love and utmost respect for Nature’s bounties. Recipes that satisfy the body, mind, and soul. Her family describes it as: "Simple good food" in the book. No wonder even today, Mrs Mathew's cookbooks are an integral part of bridal trousseaus in India and abroad.   

The book is neatly separated into 10 sections — from chutneys, jams, pickles, breakfast, snacks, seafood dishes, mutton recipes, and vegetables to payasam and other sweet dishes. It also has some amazing photographs to complement the food and recipes. A force to reckon with in the culinary world, Mrs Mathew has dished out delicious food and tips on recipes to people from all walks of life. She has met top dignitaries ranging from Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Queen Elizabeth II. She was the founder editor of Vanitha, a leading Malayalam magazine. In fact, she was one of the longest-serving editors in the country. Her passion for food and the desire to learn new recipes was insatiable. She travelled across the length and breadth of Kerala, visiting homes, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the quest for forgotten recipes.

If baking is a science, then cooking is indeed an art passed down from one generation to the other. While many families and super chefs are secretive about their recipes and secret masalas, Annamma's style of cooking and her recipes are like an open book. The only prerequisite — one needs to have genuine love and respect for Simple good food!

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