Four cookbooks will be released during the DC book fair

Even as serials, films and reality shows rule the roost on the small screen, cookery shows on television have a loyal following of viewers who watch in awe domestic goddesses and, at times, gods whipping up delicacies from far and wide.

Cashing in on the popularity of these shows are publishers who have encouraged most of the television hostesses to compile the recipes into cookbooks that have been sold out like hot cakes.

Again, as in the previous year, the ongoing 16th DC International Book Fair & Cultural Fest will see the release of a fair number of cookbooks this year too – but all by television hostesses. Lakshmi Nair, the diva of cookery shows in Malayalam, television executive Betty Louis Baby and cookery expert Deepa Gopakumar release their recipe books on different days of the book fair. Two volumes of Pachaka Rani, edited by Betty, will be released today (3 p.m.); Lakshmi Nair’s Magic Oven Fabulous Recipes will be released on December 4; Deepa Gopakumar’s Priya Pachakam will be released on December 5. Big-time chef and restaurateur Noushad conducts a cookery demonstration on December 7.

Long ago, cookery shows and hosts were Cinderellas of the small screen in Kerala. Cookery shows were seldom shown on prime time and the production was anything but slick. Betty , a production executive with Kairali TV, changed all that with her show ‘Magic Oven’. Anchored by culinary star Lakshmi Nair, the show had chutzpah and dollops of glamour and that too without diluting the essence of the cookery show.

Moving on, Betty produced ‘Pachaka Rani’, a reality show and contest for cooks, perhaps a first on Malayalam television. Recipes from wannabe participants poured in from all over Kerala. Now, Betty has compiled into two books the hundreds of recipes. “Fish is cooked in so many different ways in Kerala and each locality has its own speciality. We had to sort out the recipes, go through the ingredients and then select what were to go into the books. It was back-breaking work because not all the people who send in recipes knew how to go about it systematically. Many expert homemakers don’t go by spoons and measures. They cook by taste and so we had to work on those recipes to make it easy for readers.”

With a foreword by Mammootty, chairman of the channel, the books have been published by DC Books.

Deepa Gopakumar made her television debut more than four years ago as a hostess on television in Asianet. She brought in her experience as a homemaker and cook to showcase recipes for snacks, pickles, bakes, rice dishes and so on.

“The book has 200 recipes and most of them were telecast during my show. The recipes are simple and most of the ingredients can be sourced easily. When the publisher approached me for a cook book it was not a difficult task as all the recipes are tried and tested ones,” says Deepa. This is Deepa’s first book and, hopefully, not her last.

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