Did you know that a couple of bananas a day could keep your blood pressure down? That nineteenth-century sailors ate potatoes to fight scurvy? That Ayurveda considers rice the perfect healing food? That George Bernard Shaw was a brinjal-loving vegetarian? That turmeric could be an anti-carcinogenic? That urad dal is an aphrodisiac?
Ratna Rajaiah takes a walk down memory lane, only to find it redolent with the aromas of her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens, and lined with the spices and condiments of her youth. Pausing often, she meets old culinary friends – coconuts and chillies, mangoes and jackfruit, ragi and channa dal, ghee and jaggery, mustard seeds and curry leaves – and introduces us to almost-forgotten joys, like the sight of steaming kanji or the aroma of freshly cut ginger. Taking detours off the beaten path, she shares recipes for old favourites (often with a surprising twist!) and reveals delightful slivers of trivia and fascinating nuggets of gastronomic history.