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Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with tales from her life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and musings about Indian culture. Narayan recounts her childhood in South India, her college days in America, her arranged marriage, and visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York C Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with tales from her life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and musings about Indian culture. Narayan recounts her childhood in South India, her college days in America, her arranged marriage, and visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York City. Monsoon Diary is populated with characters like Raju, the milkman who named his cows after his wives; the iron-man who daily set up shop in Narayan's front yard, picking up red-hot coals with his bare hands; her mercurial grandparents and inventive parents. Narayan illumines Indian customs while commenting on American culture from the vantage point of the sympathetic outsider. Her characters, like Narayan herself, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life. In this creative and intimate work, Narayan's considerable vegetarian cooking talents are matched by stories as varied as Indian spices--at times pungent, mellow, piquant, and sweet. Tantalizing recipes for potato masala, dosa, and coconut chutney, among others, emerge from Narayan's absorbing tales about food and the solemn and quirky customs that surround it.


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Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with tales from her life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and musings about Indian culture. Narayan recounts her childhood in South India, her college days in America, her arranged marriage, and visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York C Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with tales from her life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and musings about Indian culture. Narayan recounts her childhood in South India, her college days in America, her arranged marriage, and visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York City. Monsoon Diary is populated with characters like Raju, the milkman who named his cows after his wives; the iron-man who daily set up shop in Narayan's front yard, picking up red-hot coals with his bare hands; her mercurial grandparents and inventive parents. Narayan illumines Indian customs while commenting on American culture from the vantage point of the sympathetic outsider. Her characters, like Narayan herself, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life. In this creative and intimate work, Narayan's considerable vegetarian cooking talents are matched by stories as varied as Indian spices--at times pungent, mellow, piquant, and sweet. Tantalizing recipes for potato masala, dosa, and coconut chutney, among others, emerge from Narayan's absorbing tales about food and the solemn and quirky customs that surround it.

30 review for Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes

  1. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    I had a hard time getting into this book. It took four different times for me to get through it. I don't think it was the writing per se but the subject matter. I wasn't the right reader for this one. My Rating: 3 stars I had a hard time getting into this book. It took four different times for me to get through it. I don't think it was the writing per se but the subject matter. I wasn't the right reader for this one. My Rating: 3 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A really personal look at growing up in India and what it means to be an outsider living and studying in the United Sates, this book gives its readers a comic but movingly accurate version of things we can all relate to and choices we all have to make. Narayan gives us mouth-watering glimpses of Indian food (and how to make it) as she tells her tale, imprinted so deeply with the spices, smells, textures, and tastes of Indian cooking. With each recipe, Narayan provides a myth that relates to and/ A really personal look at growing up in India and what it means to be an outsider living and studying in the United Sates, this book gives its readers a comic but movingly accurate version of things we can all relate to and choices we all have to make. Narayan gives us mouth-watering glimpses of Indian food (and how to make it) as she tells her tale, imprinted so deeply with the spices, smells, textures, and tastes of Indian cooking. With each recipe, Narayan provides a myth that relates to and/or explains the dishes. She also explains how each spice, each topping, each method of cooking has a special use- some of them are to be used when pregnant, some are good for colds, each have their own occasion, and some are even used not only in cooking, but as face cream (and a cure for all ills)- all according to her very ambitious and often overpowering mother. In her memoir, Shoba wishes to study abroad, to the objection of her large family. They make a deal with her that, if she is able to prepare a complete satisfactory Indian meal for the entire family, her wish will be granted. She cooks the meal and off she goes. Within the story she weaves about herself, Narayan contemplates the good and the bad of both the Indian society she has lived in and the American one she moves to. This is a truly entertaining and worthwhile book to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Em*bedded-in-books*

    It was a scrumptious feast. I gobbled up the book from cover to cover. It deals with the South Indian food culture of 70's and 80's. I could connect with most of the facts mentioned in the book as the author describes her South Indian Tamil Brahmin heritage well. The book starts with early childhood memories when she was in the care of her maternal grandparents in Coimbatore, then it moves on to her parents' place in Madras, with a few forays into her father's ancenstral house in Kerala. Later o It was a scrumptious feast. I gobbled up the book from cover to cover. It deals with the South Indian food culture of 70's and 80's. I could connect with most of the facts mentioned in the book as the author describes her South Indian Tamil Brahmin heritage well. The book starts with early childhood memories when she was in the care of her maternal grandparents in Coimbatore, then it moves on to her parents' place in Madras, with a few forays into her father's ancenstral house in Kerala. Later on she goes on as a scholarship art student to the US, gets married and the book ends where she settles as a young bride in the U.S. All these recollections are intensified by recipes and food memories. This is a book well worth being read by Indian foodies, especially South Indians. I am not sure whether others will be able to relate to the book as much as we do. One grouse with this book is that most traditional South Indian recipes are Americanized, maybe this is to keep up with the diverse nature of the readers. I am definitely planning to reread this in future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

    A sweetly hilarious account of cross-cultural cuisine and tradition as narrated by an upper-middle class Indian woman. While I enjoyed the cultural high lights, I couldn't help but notice the absolute lack of criticism regarding certain customs, right down to her author's refusal to even acknowledge the limitations of them. A quick, entertaining read-- it's really more 3.5. A sweetly hilarious account of cross-cultural cuisine and tradition as narrated by an upper-middle class Indian woman. While I enjoyed the cultural high lights, I couldn't help but notice the absolute lack of criticism regarding certain customs, right down to her author's refusal to even acknowledge the limitations of them. A quick, entertaining read-- it's really more 3.5.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sudha Srivalsan

    I started browsing the book like any other recipe books. But found myself carried over by the simple style and narrative details. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Set in a South Indian family, I could relate to every bit of information Shoba had mentioned. Interesting read - Nostalgic:)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Basically a love story between author and her privileged upbringing. Recipes at the end of each chapter.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eden

    2020 bk 19. This book is a series of flashbacks to important times and places in the author's early life. The time period spans the 1970's - 1980's, the years of her childhood through grad school. Interspersed are some of her favorite foods that play an important role in the flashbacks. If you want a travel guide to India, this is not it. If you want a span of 60-80 years of life time, this is not it. What it is, is a delightful look back at the innocence of youth, the memories of home (no matte 2020 bk 19. This book is a series of flashbacks to important times and places in the author's early life. The time period spans the 1970's - 1980's, the years of her childhood through grad school. Interspersed are some of her favorite foods that play an important role in the flashbacks. If you want a travel guide to India, this is not it. If you want a span of 60-80 years of life time, this is not it. What it is, is a delightful look back at the innocence of youth, the memories of home (no matter the continent), a taste of India's culture, and a good basic collection of vegetarian recipes that sustained the author as a child and young adult. A joy to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sindhuja Ravichandran

    Savored every page of this book. A memoir paying an ode to spices and everyday dishes whipped up in a South Indian's kitchen. Savored every page of this book. A memoir paying an ode to spices and everyday dishes whipped up in a South Indian's kitchen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    R K

    Review Found Here Review Found Here

  10. 5 out of 5

    Arti

    This book is a narrative memoir of Shoba Narayan’s nostalgic reminiscence of her childhood to adulthood. She writes the recipes of foods described in her book relating them to various stages of her life. She starts with the first meal of a six month old infant, her early childhood at her maternal grandparents’ house in a small town where her grandmother made vatrals and vadams with the help of her maid, Maariamma; the pets at her home and the effect of diet on the nature of an animal. She explai This book is a narrative memoir of Shoba Narayan’s nostalgic reminiscence of her childhood to adulthood. She writes the recipes of foods described in her book relating them to various stages of her life. She starts with the first meal of a six month old infant, her early childhood at her maternal grandparents’ house in a small town where her grandmother made vatrals and vadams with the help of her maid, Maariamma; the pets at her home and the effect of diet on the nature of an animal. She explains very diligently about the series of helps that came to their house in Madras every morning from the milkman, Ayyah, iron man, garbageman and the flower woman. She describes her school friends, the lunch hour at school, lunch boxes shared/exchanged; her trip with her parents and brother to Adyar Woodlands; the train journeys for which they would carry food from home; her mother’s culinary classes; her vacations in Kerala; her cousins and her college days in Madras. She describes how desperate she was to study in America and how her uncle tells her that if she could impress the family with a vegetarian feast, she could go to America. She talks about her college days in America, classes and her weekly comfort food at Mount Holyoke, “yogurt rice”. Though she goes to study psychology, she takes up sculpture later. She talks about her arranged marriage, excitement of everybody in her house when the boy’s family comes, her husband’s liking for Indian food, visits from her parents and in-laws to her home in New York City. I really enjoyed the book and could not put it down. I also tried various recipes, upma being my favourite.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is not the type of book I would normally pick up to read. However, I noticed a friend liked it and thought I'd try something different. I'm glad I did. I identify with the author in that many of my own memories are tied to food. The book made me want to try to make some of my grandma's recipes that we rely on her to make for holidays. That being said, I don't have great inspiration to try the recipes in the book but that's OK. The book wasn't so much about the recipes as how the food can br This is not the type of book I would normally pick up to read. However, I noticed a friend liked it and thought I'd try something different. I'm glad I did. I identify with the author in that many of my own memories are tied to food. The book made me want to try to make some of my grandma's recipes that we rely on her to make for holidays. That being said, I don't have great inspiration to try the recipes in the book but that's OK. The book wasn't so much about the recipes as how the food can bridge cultures and serves to illuminate aspects of Indian culture.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    4.0*** Shoba writes a charming memoir of growing up in a multi-generational family life in Southern India and her closeness to nature that imbued her with an appreciation for the fruits and foods of her native land. In transplanting herself to America, via her food prowess Shoba carries the enthusiasm she saw in her parents approach to life and learning and you cannot but help to applaud her willingness to embrace a new culture. The beautifully described food preparation passages made my mouth wa 4.0*** Shoba writes a charming memoir of growing up in a multi-generational family life in Southern India and her closeness to nature that imbued her with an appreciation for the fruits and foods of her native land. In transplanting herself to America, via her food prowess Shoba carries the enthusiasm she saw in her parents approach to life and learning and you cannot but help to applaud her willingness to embrace a new culture. The beautifully described food preparation passages made my mouth water.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Bradbury

    I suppose this one can be read as the story of a person with immense potential who got bogged down by the traditions ruling her life. Readable in the voyeuristic sense of glimpsing into someone's life. I suppose this one can be read as the story of a person with immense potential who got bogged down by the traditions ruling her life. Readable in the voyeuristic sense of glimpsing into someone's life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This lovely memoir/cookbook is a wonderful read-aloud book, full of the sensations, sounds and flavours of Narayan's memories of growing up in southern India. Each chapter ends with a recipe inspired by the memory. Before reading the book, we had completely forgotten about flattened rice until reading Shoba Narayan's recipe for poha. As I read about the dish, there were sudden cries of, "Chura!! I love chura!!" It turns out that poha is simply yet another name for flattened rice (aka pressed rice This lovely memoir/cookbook is a wonderful read-aloud book, full of the sensations, sounds and flavours of Narayan's memories of growing up in southern India. Each chapter ends with a recipe inspired by the memory. Before reading the book, we had completely forgotten about flattened rice until reading Shoba Narayan's recipe for poha. As I read about the dish, there were sudden cries of, "Chura!! I love chura!!" It turns out that poha is simply yet another name for flattened rice (aka pressed rice, pressed rice flakes, beaten rice, chura,...). Why am I surprised that there would be more than one name for this in a country where over 100 languages are spoken? Narayan's recipe for poha (flattened rice), calling for lime juice, curry leaves and coconut, is quite different from the one that T had many times when he was living in northern India. He suspects that the one he ate is a Bengali recipe. Poha (or chura, as we call it) makes the best breakfast (or snack) for a brisk autumn morning - or indeed any morning. Or afternoon. Or evening.... Bookmarked recipes: ghee, Ginger Tamarind Pickle, panagam, okra curry, poha     Ammu told us stories every night. Sometimes they were from ancient Indian epics, about virtuous kings and dutiful queens; sometimes they were animal tales for the Pancha Tantra; these always ended with a riddle. If we were really good, Ammu would tell us ghost stories.     Vaikom House was filled with ghosts. As a child, I was always tripping over them. I remember a sultry summer afternoon when I retreated into the cool folds of the great tamarind tree in one corner of the property. the afternoon breeze, the gentle swaying of the tree, all lulled me into somnolence. (p91) (view spoiler)[     Gujarat in October. It is the Nav Ratri (nine nights festival, when entire cities come alive at night with music and dancing. [...] Come sunset and I set off, dressed like a peacock, to dance all night. We go around in giant circles, clapping hands, bending and swaying, urning our faces to the giant moon low in the sky. In the morning I come home and eat a bowl of piping hot poha.     Poha is famous in Gujarat, where it is eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a snack. (p159)     On the day we were to leave [Vaikom House], my grandmother woke up early and began to make puttu, kadala, and inji curry. Puttu is a mixture of rice flour and grated coconut, which is steamed in a brass container [...] while kadala is made of spicy black lentils. They complement each other perfectly. [...] [The kadala] was as spicy as the puttu was bland. Last to come was inji curry (tamarind and ginger pickle), a favorite condiment in our family. Thick, rich, and tangy, we ate it with everything: with rice, chapatis, white bread, and on toast. It was the color of chocolate and just as addictive. (p93-94) (hide spoiler)] Here are our takes on flattened rice: Chura: flattened rice with peas and peanuts, inspired by Shoba Narayan’s recipe for poha in Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes Puliyinji (tamarind-ginger chutney)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Helen

    Last year I read The Milk Lady of Bangalore and it turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2018. Naturally, I wanted to read more of Narayan’s writings, and I started with her first book, this memoir with recipes. In it, she describes her growing up in India (she is Tamil), including all her favorite foods, going away to the US for college, and cooking here. She planned to be a journalist, but studied art along the way, returning to India after completing her work for her master’s degree, w Last year I read The Milk Lady of Bangalore and it turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2018. Naturally, I wanted to read more of Narayan’s writings, and I started with her first book, this memoir with recipes. In it, she describes her growing up in India (she is Tamil), including all her favorite foods, going away to the US for college, and cooking here. She planned to be a journalist, but studied art along the way, returning to India after completing her work for her master’s degree, which was revoked after a ridiculous (imo) experience regarding her exhibit at Memphis State University. Back home, she was ready to give in to arranged marriage, but she makes it clear it wasn’t the process I imagined it to be. Her parents never wanted her to be unhappy in marriage, nor did they force this on her. The arrangement took and she married the man and now has children and what sounds like a happy marriage. The recipes add to the story in the way photographs sometimes do. There are several I have copied to try, and I’ve already found grocery stores where I will shop.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Seema

    I enjoyed the Monsoon Diary immensely. We all have our stories of food- of how we made a particular dish- who ate it - and what was our emotional journey on it. It is like coming of age stories, and I enjoyed reading about her story as a south Indian woman - her closeness to her family - her journey to the USA and trying to prove herself. I loved her story on upma- how she worked hard on making so many different dishes for a fundraiser, and when she failed, she quickly cooked upma- that was hot, I enjoyed the Monsoon Diary immensely. We all have our stories of food- of how we made a particular dish- who ate it - and what was our emotional journey on it. It is like coming of age stories, and I enjoyed reading about her story as a south Indian woman - her closeness to her family - her journey to the USA and trying to prove herself. I loved her story on upma- how she worked hard on making so many different dishes for a fundraiser, and when she failed, she quickly cooked upma- that was hot, delicious, and appealed to all diets. Shoba is a great storyteller- she is funny, and in her stories, she touches that part of Indianess in you. I could relate to her experiences. I am sure her daughters will proudly cook some of her recipes as I have successfully done so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rob Landerman

    I loved this book. I was a big fan of Milk Lady of Bangalore, so I just bought this in paperback. I love Shoba's writing. It is engrossing and fun. I enjoy getting to learn about parts of another culture I know nothing about and to get recipes in context that I can enjoy and appreciate even more. It's an easy read, and each story is beautiful in its own way. I've already cooked a few of the recipes, and this is the Indian food I've longed for, not the British stuff passed off as Indian food in r I loved this book. I was a big fan of Milk Lady of Bangalore, so I just bought this in paperback. I love Shoba's writing. It is engrossing and fun. I enjoy getting to learn about parts of another culture I know nothing about and to get recipes in context that I can enjoy and appreciate even more. It's an easy read, and each story is beautiful in its own way. I've already cooked a few of the recipes, and this is the Indian food I've longed for, not the British stuff passed off as Indian food in restaurants.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    This book drew me in. Part memoir, part cookbook, a fascinating read. Narayan shares stories of her childhood in India, about moving to the US for college (and the struggle it took her to get there), her journey in the US. Just a fantastic read and made me miss India dearly, and understand a bit more about her journey. Great read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jayeeta

    Enjoyable memoir. The interspersed recipes were fun, and I may try a few out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    A lovely but short memoir of growing up in India. Great recipes and stories included.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shiv

    Nice read. I like how the recipes came after they were explained in her life. I'm looking forward to making the recipes in this, most of which I'm unfamiliar with, even though I am Indian. Nice read. I like how the recipes came after they were explained in her life. I'm looking forward to making the recipes in this, most of which I'm unfamiliar with, even though I am Indian.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jan Norton

    It was interesting to read of life in another coulture and the adjustments to the American culture.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Lovely descriptions of a woman's grown-up in a very different culture. Loved the recipes and food slant! Lovely descriptions of a woman's grown-up in a very different culture. Loved the recipes and food slant!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen Shapiro

    I could not stop reading this book. Every scene and story was so vivid in my mind’s eye. A great memoir.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    I love books with recipes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Only three stars because, while a good read as far as the "memoir" goes, the recipes are a bit disappointing. First, the authoress foolishly assumes that everyone has access to an Indian grocery that sells everything from concentrated tamarind to fresh curry leaves. As an expat herself, she really ought to know better--and offer some suggestions for substitutions or methods to make one's own chaat mixes etc. Yes I know there are other sources for such things, and it's a good thing I do know it. Only three stars because, while a good read as far as the "memoir" goes, the recipes are a bit disappointing. First, the authoress foolishly assumes that everyone has access to an Indian grocery that sells everything from concentrated tamarind to fresh curry leaves. As an expat herself, she really ought to know better--and offer some suggestions for substitutions or methods to make one's own chaat mixes etc. Yes I know there are other sources for such things, and it's a good thing I do know it. But still I am unable to prepare many of the recipes, not just because of her glib "buy in Indian market" dodge, but also because some of the more accesible recipes are extremely sketchy in terms of amounts. How much is "a medium size piece of ginger"? Are we talking about a chunk less than 2 inches long, or a hand of ginger, which can weigh 4 oz? I also wondered how a girl who by her own admission actively ignored her mother's attempts to teach her to cook and whose family acknowledged that the only time she went into the kitchen was to get a drink of water, could suddenly overnight produce a several-course meal that would impress said family (no strangers to Indian cuisine) to the place they would do a right-about and allow her to study in the US. Particularly when she made such a disastrous meal for her American friends to get them to chip in for her college tuition. Surely if she was such a whizz at Indian food, she should have stuck with what she supposedly did so well? Perhaps that "Indian market" she is so glib about now wasn't available to her then, either? But then to hear her tell it she is good at everything, instantly--from music (though she can't transcribe her own tunes) to cooking to welding. Her version would have us believe she never messed up, made a mistake, or hurt herself. Well, yeah--they did revoke her art degree. There's that. Hm. Maybe not so perfect, after all. And then she tells us how horrible her first Indian meals as a newlywed were; her penchant for changing time-honoured recipes got scathing critiques from hubby, and made me wonder how authentic the recipes presented actually are. As I said, an okay read as far as the memoir goes, but for good, workable recipes with sensible measurements that can be duplicated at home, I'll stick with the Internet resources and recipe books I know best.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom Franklin

    Monsoon Diary is a somewhat strange book in that it tries to be a great many things without necessarily succeeding at any of them all that well. Part memoir of growing up in southern India, part journey to America, part life as a college artist, part arranged marriage, part foodie porn, part recipe, Shoba Narayan gives the reader glimpses of the many aspects of her life, but there is a lack of depth to each that made Monsoon Diary a bit of a disappointment to me. At the same time, however, I enj Monsoon Diary is a somewhat strange book in that it tries to be a great many things without necessarily succeeding at any of them all that well. Part memoir of growing up in southern India, part journey to America, part life as a college artist, part arranged marriage, part foodie porn, part recipe, Shoba Narayan gives the reader glimpses of the many aspects of her life, but there is a lack of depth to each that made Monsoon Diary a bit of a disappointment to me. At the same time, however, I enjoyed her writing and her descriptions of her life growing up in India, her grandparents and parents, and the food they each prepared. (In fact, if she had just written the book about that time in her life, I think I would have been happier and the book would have been more focused) When she moves to the US on a scholarship to Mount Holyoake, the story could have been much more than it was. There are elements of the stranger-in-a-strange-land, but she doesn't dwell on this. Her contentious time in graduate school was certainly worth more than the few pages it was given. And while she agrees to allow her family to look into an arranged marriage for her, she never discusses the internal conflicts this must have presented to her, having become Western-ly 'enlightented' in terms of feminism and male-female relationships from her time in the US. The recipes are presented at the end of each chapter and, in the best of instances, feature predominantly in the preceding story. In other cases, they seem hastily tacked on. I sincerely wish Narayan had discussed the Indian ingredients from a Western perspective, to demystify them for an interested but somewhat wary shopper like myself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Merredith

    I wish I could eat this book. This is a memoir of a girl who grew up in india in an upper middle class family, and then came to the US for part of her college (so weird she was probably in South Hadley right around the running with scissors time, yet the place seemed so different!), and then ends up moving to the US with her husband. Nothing remarkable happens, but it was still an interesting read, especially just seeing the every day, day to day life in India. The book is so centered on food th I wish I could eat this book. This is a memoir of a girl who grew up in india in an upper middle class family, and then came to the US for part of her college (so weird she was probably in South Hadley right around the running with scissors time, yet the place seemed so different!), and then ends up moving to the US with her husband. Nothing remarkable happens, but it was still an interesting read, especially just seeing the every day, day to day life in India. The book is so centered on food though, and she includes lots of recipes throughout. YUM. I wish I had the skill, and also knew where on earth there are indian grocery stores in SF, so I could actually cook these things. Indian food in restaurants is pretty good, but its nothing like real indian food. Right after college, my at the time best friend's mom and grandmother used to cook me the YUMMIEST authentic indian food. So good! If I had the indian stores that they have in MA, maybe I'd try it. If you are a good cook and have access to indian ingredients, maybe pick this up and make the recipes. Theyre sure to taste even better, knowing the stories and backgrounds behind them. In the meantime, I settled for going out to eat at an indian restaurant. :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Purlewe

    Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan is a book about a woman growing up in Southern India and her subsequent immigration to America. She relates the entire memoir through the foods of her memory and adds a recipe at the end of each chapter. I felt that the book was quite well done and I plan on trying some of the recipes soon. I have always enjoyed immigrant memoirs (I love mainly chinese and indian ones, altho I am open to new titles for others!) I think that she tries to show how life in India reall Monsoon Diary by Shoba Narayan is a book about a woman growing up in Southern India and her subsequent immigration to America. She relates the entire memoir through the foods of her memory and adds a recipe at the end of each chapter. I felt that the book was quite well done and I plan on trying some of the recipes soon. I have always enjoyed immigrant memoirs (I love mainly chinese and indian ones, altho I am open to new titles for others!) I think that she tries to show how life in India really was while growing up. Something I am sure is changing rapidly now with new jobs and the internet in India. She talks about struggling with herself and her identity upon reaching Mount Holyoke College. She talks about not having the preconceived ideas that most americans have on love, life and beauty. I really enjoyed this book, but I was surprised at the end how the recipes just popped up without ending the chapter, making me think I had missed a page or two. Reading about her family and how they all balanced each other the way the food was balanced in their life is very interesting. I am going to look and see if this author has written anything else.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Smitha

    I picked up this book on a whim. The cover looked good and so did the synopsis. I am happy to say that it did not disappoint. The author takes us down the memory lane with her reminisces filled with food, along with the recipes. Starting from her initiation into eating adult food( Chor-unnal in Malayalam) to the time that she is married. Each memory associated with some sort of food. Be it the food that she shared with her school friends , her cousins or her roommates, while in college. The flav I picked up this book on a whim. The cover looked good and so did the synopsis. I am happy to say that it did not disappoint. The author takes us down the memory lane with her reminisces filled with food, along with the recipes. Starting from her initiation into eating adult food( Chor-unnal in Malayalam) to the time that she is married. Each memory associated with some sort of food. Be it the food that she shared with her school friends , her cousins or her roommates, while in college. The flavour captured beautifully in her words. How food was so central in everything that she has done. Even the permission to go abroad for higher studies was based on the fact that she was able to churn out a wonderful traditional meal. She talks about the time when she tried fusion food (international fusion at that) on her husband, much to his distress, all he wanted was an authentic South Indian meal. It was a wonderful read, though I am too lazy to try out recipes, reading was soul satisfying enough for me.

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