Five Morsels of Love: An Andhra Collaboration
Collaborating with Archana on this felt so obvious - a stunning book of heirloom Andhra recipes, paired with heirloom Andhra turmeric, packaged in heirloom Andhra pochampalli ikat - it's a beautiful tribute to the regional depth of India, and we're honored to be a part of it. Read the full story below-
At a time when Indian cooking abroad is usually known only by the sad bare bones of curried up, oil laden Mughlai cuisine, and the odd dosa if we're really feeling risky- it is so heartening to see a gorgeously documented and heartfelt cookbook dedicated to regional Indian cuisine like this one. My own mash up of Gujarati-Jain + Gujarati-Muslim cuisine is rarely documented and as the years pass and we lose that one family member with that one biryani recipe, or that one family cook with the fluffiest dhokla recipe- I'm realizing just how important preserving heirloom food stories and recipes are within our communities. There is something so powerful about tracing how your community nourishes itself, and how you can continue that arc of history. Archana's cookbook does just that- from her generous and delightful commitment to eggplant (cannot wait to make the eggplant biryani!), to her Pesarattu recipe which is a style of dosa that is specific to Andhra- this is the cookbook I wish I could make for my family, but also the cookbook I'll be using to feed my family, because that's how our communities grow, one homemade meal at a time.
As y'all know, our turmeric is grown on a small 4th generation family farm just outside Vijayawada, Andhra Pradhesh. So if there were ever a perfect cookbook companion to our turmeric, this would be it. These are the recipes are our heirloom turmeric was grown for, and that makes us ridiculously warm and fuzzy and nostalgic all at once.
Like many of us, I was raised accompanying my mother to the fabric store to hunt for all the most beautiful pieces of cloth we could load into our bags and waddle home with. The ritual of buying fabric and then having a trusted family tailor make new outfits for us is one that I hold onto deeply, especially in the age of fast fashion. Every January, I come back to Oakland with a whole new set of clothes, freshly tailored back home in Mumbai with fabric from our travels across India. Whilst in Vijayawada this January for the 2018 turmeric harvest (more on that soon!), I encountered Pochamapally Ikat- a style of ikat weaving indigenous to Andhra. I knew immediately that I had to use this fabric to make the packaging for my collaboration with Archana- and complete the circle of regional recipe meets agriculture meets textile.
Neither Archana nor I live in Andhra Pradesh, but we both owe a great deal to this corner of India, and the abundance it produces. So this is our ode, of sorts, to a place and a culture that has given us so much.
WHERE TO FIND IT AND HOW TO PURCHASE:
USA (online) - Diaspora Co. - available now, only 10 left!
India (online) - Five Morsels of Love - all you India-based Diaspora fans, this is your chance!
Portland, OR - Bollywood Theater, PDX - available starting 3/7
San Francisco, CA - Omnivore Books, SF - available now, likely to run out SOON.