Monsoon Diary (A Memoir with Recipes)

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Item Code: NAJ373
Author: Shoba Narayan
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 9780143031871
Pages: 240
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 230 gm
Book Description
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About the Book


In this creative and intimate work, Narayan matches her considerable vegetarian cooking talents with delicious accounts of 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. In doing so, she illumines Indian customs while commenting on American culture from the vantage point of the sympathetic outsider.


In stories as varied as Indian spices-at time pungent, mellow, piquant and sweet- we get to meet 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, who like Narayan, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life.


About the Author


Shoba Narayan has written for Travel & Leisure; Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Newsweek, House Beautiful, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She is a regular guest on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend and a recipient of the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing, given by the James Beard Foundation. Narayan graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which awarded her a Pulitzer Fellowship. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her website is




FOR ONE WHO EATS so little, my father has an unquenchable fascination with food. A petite, lithe man with the curiosity of an inventor and the conflicted soul of an artist, he loves to try new things-in small doses, at his own pace.


When he first visited me as a newlywed in America, he spent the entire winter making up an alphabetized list of all the foods he had never tried, and systematically went about trying them. He started with avocadoes, which are unknown in tropical South India, and quickly moved on to anise candy, chipotle peppers, Etorki cheese, Fig Newtons, Kettle chips, molasses, quince, tomatillos, zahtar, and everything in between.


We never knew what he would come back with when he visited the grocery store. Once he bought a whole case of persimmons, which, he informed us, belonged to the genus Diospyros and meant “fruit of the Gods.” I considered myself an adventurous eater, but I had never tried a persimmon before. My husband, self-confessedly finicky, viewed the orange fruits with suspicion. Not wanting to hurt the feelings of his visiting father-in-law, he took a tentative bite and puckered his face. My mother and I followed my husband’s example and experienced the same reaction. Even one persimmon was too hard, tart, and astringent to be palatable. What were we going to do with twelve of them?


The next day I woke up to find a plate of invitingly cut persimmons dusted with sugar. Beside it was a typed recipe for Persimmon Rice Pudding. Persimmons have more vitamin C than oranges, my father said. They are an excellent source of potassium and beta-carotene. The fruit was unripe yesterday, he said, and therefore astringent. ‘The ripe persimmon tastes like an apricot,” he quoted from a Web site.


His next question: “What is an apricot?”










First Foods




Baby Brother Arrives




Sun-Dried Vegetables on the Roof




Of Monkeys and Maids




Idlis and Coffee




Night Train to Mumbai




Of Baking and Brides




Vaikom House




A Feast to Decide a Future




Coming to America




Holiday Trips




Creation of an Artist




Summer of Bread and Music




Love’s Labor Lost




Arranged Marriage




Monsoon Wedding




Honeymoon in America




Descent of the Relatives


List of Recipes



Sample Pages

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