Recipe for success

When Edward Behr, editor of The Art of Eating, contacted Archana Pidathala to tell her that her book, Five Morsels of Love, had been nominated for the Art of Eating Prize 2017, she had no idea that such an award existed. “I had no idea I had been nominated. That itself was an honour, and to make it to the long list, with such famous food writers… unbelievable,” says the Bengaluru-based author, who is now in the shortlist, announced on February 14.

The annual prize is awarded to one author for the year’s best book about food. There are no categories — there is only one winner, who gets a prize worth $10,000, apart from bragging rights. Books are nominated by publishers, and in the case of self-published books such as Pidathala’s, by one of five independent bookstores in the U.S. Other writers on the shortlist are Marlene Matar, Fuchsia Dunlop, Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Naomi Duguid and Ronni Lundy. The winner will be announced on March 1.

Five Morsels of Love is the result of Pidathala’s promise to help her late grandmother translate the latter’s Telugu cookbook into English. Ask her why she thinks the book appealed to so many, and she says, “It is a book from my heart. It’s a personal and honest story about food. I don’t come from a food background, and I suppose that gave me a fresh perspective. It’s all about being true to the food of a certain era: I wrote from my grandmother’s book, and she learnt these recipes from her grandmother.”

She also notes that it is quite interesting that people are fascinated by the food from a small town in Andhra Pradesh. “It shows how a simple approach to food can make it appealing to people across cultures. You don’t need to have a knowledge of the cuisine to be able to relate to it,” Pidathala explains, adding that she likes to keep the recipes uncomplicated. “My mother-in-law says that even a five-year-old can follow the steps in my book,” she laughs.

As she waits for the winner to be announced, will she be celebrating tonight? “I don’t know… It’s still surreal; maybe, once it sinks in!”

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 9:50:38 PM |

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