Every household now mostly boasts of exquisite kitchen gadgets although that with increasing waistline owing to increased consumption of unhealthy food.
But it’s during the COVID-19 lockdown, when people are restricted in their food intake because of availability, when the recently published book Secrets of Health from the Indian Kitchen by Ratna Rajaiah rises to the occasion.
The book gives an excellent insight to superfoods that can be easily found in the Indian kitchen. Along with the many unique recipes in it, Ratna, the author talks about the various benefits of ingredients such as curry leaves, bananas, potatoes and rice even.
Keeping it traditional
Ratna has had an amazing career, working with Shekhar Kapur. She even went on to direct Meri Awaz Suno, a singing talent contest produced by Yash Chopra’s television software company. In addition, she had a long stint working in the advertising industry.
So how did the book come into being, we ask the author. “I used to write a Sunday column in a newspaper, which went back to our roots and covered a whole host of related subjects, from the significance of lighting a diya and the meaning of namaskaram to the importance of knowing your mother tongue and why we need to reconnect with foods that have been grown, made and eaten locally for centuries,” says Ratna.
“This caught the eye of my publisher Westland Books and they approached me to use these articles to put together a book on these foods. That was the genesis. The main work of researching and writing was already done because these were published articles, but the process of editing and formatting took over a year.”
While for most authors writing a book is often filled with multiple challenges, for Ratna the only challenge was to learn how to edit and format her articles into a book format a process she began enjoying once she got a hang of it.
Making stars of superfoods
Secrets of Health from the Indian Kitchen mentions quite a few interesting facts and recipes, the entire credit for which Ratna gives her mother and grandmother, “ajji”.
Pointing out her favourites from all the superfoods mentioned in the book she shortlists rice, ghee, mango, jackfruit, jaggery, coconut and curd.
Then she talks about superfoods that the West is now discovering while we Indians, who had used it for ages, have started forgetting.
“Indian doctors, nutritionists in particular and leading chefs must focus on these superfoods rather than on what’s trending in the West. While many are already doing it, many more should come forward,” says Ratna.
Presently, Ratna wants to release the book in all the major Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil and her mother tongue Kannada...