The first time Bong Mom left a comment on my blog, I did a jig. Or maybe a number of jigs.
Today I have her book in my hands. And am loving every moment reading it as I do when I read her blog posts.
I will not call this a review.
That would be audacity. Bong Mom's Cookbook has always been my refuge when ever I needed a nice read.
Hence I'll call it an experience.
A beautiful experience of getting to read her blog all over again. In the form of this book ... Bong Mom's Cookbook.
I had been offered a copy from Indiblogger, but did not get it finally, for reasons best known to them.
But fretting I was not, as I had already booked my copy from Flipkart, which reached me one cloudy evening, just as we were going out.
And yes, I did a jig then too.
Bong Mom's Cookbook is a joy to read. Simple, lucid language, heartwarming anecdotes, subtle humour, all combined with a homely feel. Sandeepa successfully blends tradition into modern day living. And takes you on a beautiful journey of memories ... sights, sounds and smells of the kitchens of her childhood, to the new home that she set up after her marraige, to her own kitchen today.
Whether you are a Bengali, or not, you will surely go back to your childhood , more than once, while reading this book.
With short, anecdotes filled chapters, that end with a recipe each, the book holds you in its spell of simplicity.
And while that chore awaits, you tell yourself "just one more page and I'll keep this down" ... and yet you cannot. :-)
Sandeepa takes you on a whirlwind tour, giving vivid descriptions of the smallest details. One moment you will be with her, "sitting on a colourful rug" at her Choto Dida's place, eating crisp, fried rutis fresh off the tawa ... on another she takes you to her mother's kitchen "atop the hills" where "she made soups with chunk of vegetables" in winters. One moment you are transported to the Sundays of her childhood, where the Mangshor jhol makes the day ... as is wont in any Bengali family; the next moment you are witnessing with quiet amusement her struggle to present a complete Bengali menu to her guests during her "novice party hosting days".
Not to mention the beautiful chapter on reviving traditions ... her tryst with Pithey making.
Where ever she takes you, it is redolent with a little familiarity ... of memories and spices and food alike.
I like the way the chapters are arranged. Starting with breakfast, on to lunch, dinner and winding up with chutney and desserts.
Bong Mom's Cookbook is not just a or another recipe book. It is not only about recipes.
It is about a Bengali mother, who tries to hold on to traditions, which naturally include food, as much as possible while living overseas, and trying to instill them in her family too.
It is 'Stories from a Bengali mother's kitchen'.
Which she puts down in her blog ... which goes by the name of Bong Mom's Cookbook.
And the book is a reflection of the same.
If you love to read and appreciate simple, good writing, this book is for you.
If you are looking for recipes, this book is for you too.
But if you pick this up with the sole aim of finding a recipe, I'll say you will be missing out on something more beautiful.
I, for one, am happy ... now that I have this book in my possession.
For no more will I be at the mercy of fluctuating internet connections to be able to read Bong Mom's Cookbook.
Congratulations Sandeepa! Looking forward to a sequel soon.
The Bong Mom's Cookbook is available on Flipkart and Amazon. So go ahead and book your copy, if you haven't yet.
It is also available in book stores in India. Go grab a copy ... pronto!