Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Launch of book The Food Trail of Punjab by Yashbir Sharma (a food travelogue).

The Cookshelf from A Perfect Bite was proud to host the launch of Yashbir Sharma’s new book The Food trails of Punjab on the 27th of September over a fabulous dinner of Punjabi food generously catered by the Legacy of Punjab restaurant. We were also honored to have some of the foodiest of foodies of Mumbai join us for the happy occasion.
I started Cookshelf  because, thanks to my friend foodwriter Vikram Doctor I have acquired an addiction to books on food and I wanted to create a repository of information of foodwriting and food books from around the world but most specifically from Indian. It is a work in progress, that I am adding to slowly. An objective of this blog is also to help good food books get attention. Having tried, rather unsuccessfully to sell my book on Uttaranchali cuisine to publishers for the last five years, I know how frustrating it is to have a good book and not find a publisher. And there are many brave foodwriters out there who believe in their books enough to put their money behind their passion and self publish books. One such man is Yashbir Sharma.
Yashbir Sharma
I first heard about Yashbir uncle and his first book The Dhabas of Amritsar through one of Vikram’s columns on restaurant cookbooks in ET, but never actually found a copy to look at. And then as serendipity would have it, I happened to meet his nephew, Manish. After that it was just a matter of me nagging Manish until he introduced me! When I finally met Yashbir Sharma, at his home in Delhi a few months ago  I was disappointed to hear that he did not have any copies of his book left BUT was quickly heartened to hear that he was soon to release a new book! I even got to see the dummy version of the book that he was self publishing; The Food Trail of Punjab. 
The Book - The food trail of Punjab
I decided right there that I would do whatever I could to help spread the word on the book. And when Yashbir Uuncle called last week to say he was bringing me some of the first copies of the book, I was thrilled. I worked against time, (even emailing from my phone of the deck of a houseboat on Kerela’s backwaters) to pull together the launch. Before I go on about the evening and the book, I would like to thank Varun Dhingra of the Legacy of Punjab restaurant, without which this evening could not have been as delicious. To launch a food book you need good food at the event and my big concern was what to serve for dinner. I am a good cook but for a book on Punjab I needed good Punjabi food, an area in which my repertoire is small. But luck favoured me again and as I was discussing things with my friend Pooja of Le 15 Patisserie, she told me that her brother Varun ran a Punjabi restaurant that had Amritsari cooks in the kitchen and would be happy to help with this. And so the table was set for The food Trail of Punjab to take off.
Varun Dhingra of the Legacy of Punjab restaurant
Amritsari Tikkis from Legacy of Punjab
As we dug into Amritsari Tikkis slathered in lashings of chutneys and Mooli salad, Yashbir Uncle told us about this book that was two years and several trips to Punjab in the making. 

"It all started when I was in Amritsar, I had an upset stomach  and decided to have some Trotters soup in Amritsar. Before you know it I was fine. The water of Amritsar is very good for the digestion. It allows one to eat the local food without getting sick." he said and the thought struck him to document the food of Punjab. And so he embarked on a happy trip through the state, pen and camera at the ready. 

“I have travelled the length and breadth of Punjab and found its people amazingly simple in their eating habits. Yet, they don’t compromise on their food. It is nutritious and delicious, with no frills attached to it. The recipes are simple, the Masallas do not number more than 7-8” 

The fertile state of Punjab in North India has always been considered the “bread basket” of the country. Famous for its vast rolling plains, endless fields of wheat, corn, millet and rice and the food! For the hardworking people of Punjab, every meal is little celebration and wherever you eat in this part of India, be it at restaurant, a roadside dhabba (as local street-side food vending stalls are referred to) or in a Punjabi home, quantity is definitely a measure of quality partly because Punjabis like to eat well but also because they love to lay a laden table.

And it is this legacy that the Food trail of Punjab brings us through recipes and the unforgettable stories behind them, culled from the owners of iconic eateries across Punjab. Featured in it’s pages are such hearty iconic delights as Kara Prasad, Dal Makhani, Amritsar Da Mutton, Gajjar da Murraba Meen Punjabi-Chinni Ishtyle Chicken and winding its way between these recipes, in the best tradition of the food travelogue are stories, vignettes of history, stories of iconic establishments and the people that run them. Full of candid photographs, charming commentary impassioned memories of the people and food of Punjab. The Food Trail of Punjab is a delicious romp of a book guaranteed to get you craving for a Punjabi meal.

It is a book that any food lover - but especially those who are afficionados of indian food and Indian culinary history - should aspire to own, because it celebrates an era of food - the kind that loved simple flavours, oodles of ghee and lots of deep frying - that is an iconic part of Indian cuisine and needs to preserved. 

Fabulous stuffed Kulchas!

Tandoori Rotis
Shanky and Lotsoffood!

Feast of Food and friends

The French connection? Food writer Mangal Dalal and Pooja Dhingra of Le 15
Mini Rasmalai
The book and the food!  

The Food Trail of Punjab is widely available at bookstores all over India. For more information you can get in touch with Mr. Sharma at mryashbirsharma(at)gmail(dot)com. 

‘Legacy of Punjab’ Asli Punjab Da Tashan as a grade 1 restaurant on the Mumbai – Nashik / Shirdi highway, 3km from Shangrila Waterpark. A spacious restaurant, that recreates the ambiance of a Punjabi farm house, Legacy of Punjab, uses solar energy fas its primary power source and growis most of ithe produce it uses on the 10,000 sq feet farm attached to the restaurant where vegetables like cauliflower, okra, brinjals, sugar cane, corn, papayas, radish flourish. For further enquiries please call +91 93231 07555 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +91 93231 07555      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email, or look for them Facebook under Legacy of Punjab.


Srivalli said...

Rushina, How wonderful! I wish the author the very best. Love Punjabi Cuisine and everything related to it. Will check out the stands for this book.

The knife said...

thanks for making inviting me and making me look so thin :)

Curry Spice said...

Hey Rushina - thanks for the lovely evening. Im liking the book- the stories. Im dreaming of trying Giani di Lassi one day. OOOOH MY GOD

Edward Robins said...

Other advantages of solar energy are that they can be installed in any house old or new.

solar hot water

Steffi said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

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