… is finally done and dusted!
The book in question is Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas.
Rukmini Srinivas’s Tiffin, as the name suggests, is all about ‘tiffin’, snacks that are served as breakfast or in typical South Indian households at 4 PM, with a cup of filter coffee. This is a cookbook-cum-memoir, with the author narrating anecdotes from her life, all revolving around tiffin time. Being a staunch vegetarian herself, she has has included only vegetarian recipes in the book, Indian as well as fusion.
I quite liked the book, though I would have loved to see some more depth in it. Most of the situations the author has written about seem to be good – there is nothing dark or challenging or difficult, mostly. I would have liked to see the inclusion of that in the book, too, but then I understand that this is not the author’s autobiography (she has explicitly mentioned the same); this is a book of anecdotes revolving around tiffin.
The anecdotes are written in typical Indian English, which I both liked and disliked. On one hand, it gives the feel of a grandmother talking to you, telling you about her life. On the other hand, I couldn’t help feeling that the language could have been better. The book could surely have done with tighter proofreading and editing – I think that would have worked wonders for it! The food photography, too, could have been better. There are no captions for the food pictures in the book, so you are left to figure out which recipe each picture refers to (not that that is too difficult for a person used to Indian tiffin items, but still). Also, there is no cataloguing of recipes in the book, so you need to flip through all the pages to find something in particular.
In spite of my little grouses with the book, I would say I still enjoyed reading it. It is a light, simple read that doesn’t stress the brain. There are charming black-and-white photos of the author and her family. Some of of the anecdotes are interesting, especially those about the author’s travels, cooking and the availability of ingredients in the pre-Independence era, but most are, sadly, just about been-there-eaten-that.
Many of the recipes in the book are good. I like how the author has suggested substitutes for certain cooking techniques that might be difficult for newbie cooks – using condensed milk to thicken a kheer, for instance, rather than cooking milk for ages. She has also advised how to ‘stagger’ certain complicated recipes – how to make the dish in parts, over a couple of days’ time, so that one is not overwhelmed with the process on a single day. The recipes could be of immense help to someone new to cooking, I think. I am, for sure, going to be trying out some of them.
Overall, this turned out to be a book that I liked, but didn’t love for various reasons. 3.5 out of 5, I would say.
Have any of you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?