Though I am often sent books by publishers I rarely do book reviews.
Most food books that I come across are recipe books and frankly since I don't read recipes these rarely interest me. Nor do they have the lipsmacking photos which recipe books of the West have.
Pamela Timms' recently published 'Korma, Kheer & Kismet' is different even though it has a few recipes.
Every since I heard about the plans for the book I was really keen to get hold of it. Having read Pamela's blog 'Eat and Dust' I know she is a writer. Having gone to Old Delhi with Anurag who used a lot of Pamela's finds I know Pamela knows Old Delhi. Having met Pamela in person, I know she is a lovely person.
So I had high expectations from her book and booked it the moment Flipkart put it up for distribution.
I finally got the book a few days back and tore into it immediately and guess what, it matched my expectations. I won't say it beat it as I expected the best and it delivered.
The first night I read the book I felt hungry for korma at Ashok and Ashok as Pamela's words took me to Old Delhi and sat me down beside her on the rickety table on which was perched the korma. The next night I started reading the book after a sumptuous Thai meal and immediately wanted to go to Amritsar for the kulche channa breakfast at Famous. A bit later I sobbed figuratively into an evocative bowl of sheer korma as I read about Mr Naseem's wife passing away.
The next day I read about Bade Miya's kheer and was transported back to my magical evening in Delhi 6. Salivated over the colours of the Diwali food in the house of the bidi makers of Madhya Pradesh and then got to know the meaning of the word nihari. I stretched and savoured the book like a bite of foie gras, not wanting it to end.
Alas it did.
It's not a recipe book though it has recipes. It's not a food book despite its name.
It's the story of Pamela and her love for India as seen through the world of food. Beautifully written, with prose that is poetic and leaves you hungry, literally and figuratively.
And unlike other Westerners, Pamela doesn't patronise India or romanticise it.
Instead she romances Old Delhi and makes you fall in love with it.
Korma, Kheer and Kismet is a book I wished I had written. I recommend that you buy and read it.
I am not lending my copy!