Lathika George, the author of The Suriani Kitchen…says that cooking and memories go hand in hand
Her book is a gastronomic adventure through the “smoky country hearths” of Kerala, specifically the culinary-rich kitchens of the Syrian Christians.
The Suriani Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections from the Syrian Christians of Kerala, written by Lathika George, a “Suriani” (as Syrian Christians are known), is a collection of 150 time-tested old favourites; recipes that symbolise the heritage of people whose culinary roots have been influenced by placid backwaters, sprawling paddy fields, the bountiful sea and the hilly rubber country of central Kerala.
Lathika's cookbook isa memoir of a rich cultural tradition. Interspersed with scrumptious traditional recipes ranging from meen pollichatu (fish roasted in banana leaves) and to vepilakatti to achappam (rose cookies), are platters full of recollections — tales of journeys made and meals eaten, kitchen tricks, folk tales and vivid anecdotes of life in a hearty Syrian Christian home. “Although we lived in Mumbai, my mother made sure that my siblings and I maintained a bond with Kerala. And, apart from regular visits, the best way to do that was through the food of our forefathers,” says Lathika.
She got the idea for the book from her daughter, Rajni George, who works in the publishing industry in New York. The book was first published by Hippocrene in the U.S. as The Kerala Kitchen.
“Food and memories are interconnected. I wanted to make the cookbook more personal. Hence, the stories,” adds the Kodaikanal-based author, a landscape designer who specialises in hill station gardens.NITA SATHYENDRAN