For those of you who are not aware, A Perfect Bite has a sub blog called The Cook-shelf that I started a few years ago.
Thanks to my friend food-writer Vikram Doctor I have acquired an addiction to books on food. The first cookbook I ever owned was Cooking at Felicity house by Roahld Dahl. I loved it for the interesting stories accompanying each recipe but I cannot say I have ever cooked from it. Over the years it has come to be a valued part of a cookbook collection that is upwards of 1000 strong today. Of these about 40% are Indian and about 5 % are ones that I keep going back to. But the books I love the most are both self published tomes rich with information and sound guidance full of passion and perseverance.
Food writing is to a large extent, an undefined sector in the publishing industry in India.
On the global scale, food writing has come into its own. Categorised under the larger umbrella of writing in general, it has its niche and covers everything from articles for print and web to books related to food. It encompasses subjects ranging from food (and drink) production to consumption. That said, there are branches within food writing, some food writers choose to stick to certain areas like restaurant criticism (in which case they would be restaurant critics) or wine (in which case they would be wine writers or wine critics). Conversely, food writing is an undefined, unrecognized sector in the publishing industry in India. There are less than a handful of food writers around, no formal training courses, and even today few publications recognise food writers as specialist writers. In fact, food writing in the true sense of the word is unexplored. And books on food are at a very rudimentary stage of evolution. Food writing has a long way to go toward achieving the cult status it enjoys in the West. So each step of my journey has been one of learning as I went along.
So Cook-shelf was also a means to offer guidance and showcase food writing that might have been missed for whatever reason. Also I wanted to create a repository of information of foodwriting and food books from around the world but most specifically from India. An objective of this blog is also to help good food books get attention. Having tried, rather unsuccessfully to sell my book on Uttaranchali cuisine to publishers for the last five years, I know how frustrating it is to have a good book and not find a publisher. And there are many brave food writers out there who believe in their books enough to put their money behind their passion and self publish books.
This blog is a work in progress that I am adding to slowly. Look forward to profiles of food writers, notes on food writing and lots more in future. And today I am proud to showcase an iconic new book, The Food Trail of Panjab that I was proud to help with launching a few days ago. Click through to the Cook-Shelf to check out both the blog and the book!