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Subject: [Ornet] Purba: Feasts from the East
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Purba: Feasts from the East
One Lakshmi feeds the world, another Lakshmi in NY tries food recipes and cooks
them to taste. Lakshmi at Puri is busy in making recipes from all her creations
and endows color, grandeur and nutrition to food. Lakshmi at NY examines these
recipes and selects the ones that people can attempt in their homes. The eternal Lakshmi opens her many kitchens to scientist Lakshmi to learn and write for the
rest of the public. Laxmi Parida, a computational biology scientist at IBM in NY
has produced a magnificent collection of Oriya recipes in a book form. The book
called "Purba: Feasts from the East" is distributed through Barnes and Noble and
Amazon.com. For every Oriya and for any person interested in Orissa, this is
an elegantly produced and extremely valuable reference book. It has the distinct honor of the first Oriya cook book to hit the US stands. Congratulations to
Dr Parida, who carries the blessings from SriLakshmi.
The 207-page book is broken into nine chapters: Oriya pantry, Jalakhia, Pitha, Breads, Bhata, Entrees, Sun-drying (badi and pickles), Mitha and "East meets Far East". Each chapter is wholesome and is loaded with specific recipes that carry
the nostalgic charm and full-bodied instructions for preparation. Through her
home kitchen back in Orissa and with the urging of her mother (remember
"Bend it like Beckam"), she has herself tried each dish and knows the failings
well. She is an astute observer and an expert teacher. With the objective humor
of a scientist, she guides any novice to travel through the roads of Oriya culinary
arts. For me, the reading itself was a meal.
Anything that you ate in homes or streets during your time in Orissa is in the book.
My special favorites were the recipes for various chakulis, chitaus, arisa and kakara.
People who know me know my weakness to these objects. What we don't normally
succeed is to create a full holiday meal as one had taken in Lekhanapur or Nardia.
The holiday meal consists of pithas of grains and legumes of the season, seasoned with herbs and spices particular to the season, supplemented with vegetables
cooked according to the climate and temperature of the season. This is the food
culture of Orissa and the book enables you to recreate it. Then go to my other
favorites of mithas: rasagolla, ladoo, kesar, khiri and tons of other savory dishes.
Time has come that we impress our neighbors with the brilliant food that Oriyas
invented and the brilliant style the food is composed. Let there be a weekly meal
with "kakharu and saga" and "potala rasa" or a nonvegetarian festive meal with "machha mahura" and "mangsa gugni". Let children enjoy "gaja" and "singada"
and let "peda" and "sandesh" replace cakes. Time has come to announce to the
words that Oriya is style and sophistication. The culture and food have been
hundreds of years in the making. It's royal.
Dr Parida is available to assist the new cooks to initiate into Oriya cooking.
the veterans can comment and add more dishes to the book to make a second
part. SriJagannatha eats sabara food and the whole set of recipes from the hills
and forests need assembly. The recipes from south and the recipes from the
inner villages at Puri would make other volumes. The books reminds you of
the richness of food as a sustenance and the beauty of human ingenuity in
creating crafts in taste and nutrition. At $16.95 the book is a bargain for
all the information and the meticulous guidance. Enjoy!!
Particulars of the book:
Purba: Feasts from the East
(Oriya Cuisine from Eastern India)
Author: Dr Laxmi Parida
Pages: 207 + xvii
Publisher: Writers' Showcase
Publication date: 2003
Distribution: Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com
Price: $16.95 (US), $27.95 (Canada)
June 20, 2003
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