Living in a country where South Asian food tends to be associated with Northern Indian cuisine, Chitra Agrawal’s cookbook, brings a refreshing change. State-specific South Asian cookbooks are a rare find. Coming across one with a personal narrative and captures the cuisine from the south-western Indian state of Karnataka, suggests we are entering into an exciting time for South Asian cookbooks. Filled with every day to special occasion dishes, connects food with family memories, traditions, and comfort. Recipes passed down from generations, rooted in sattvic dietary customs and reflective of a second-generation American of Karnataka descent. It’s family’s cookbook of sorts. One that is now publicly available to the DIY foodie, the traditional enthusiast and/or those seeking to diversify their South Asian recipe box beyond chicken tikka masala and palak paneer.
I just finished reading Enchanting Beauty: Ancient Secrets to Inner, Outer & Lasting Beauty written by my former teacher, Dr. Manisha Kshirasagar, BAMS. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book after speaking with Dr. Manisha over a year ago. At that time, she shared, that the inspiration for the book came from the shift she saw in beauty standards, when she moved her Ayurveda practice to the United States from India. The conversations with her female patients, here in the States, shed light on their definition of beauty compared to her own. After teaching and practicing Ayurveda for over twenty years, she decided to write a book that shared her personal experiences as a woman, mother, doctor, teacher and wife combined with her expertise in skincare, and women’s and children’s health, to talk about beauty holistically.