Just like writer's get writer's block, I believe reader's get reader's slump. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to read a book, or any reading material, you just can't, everything seems long and droning. And only extremely masterful story-telling can pull you out from such dreary slumps. And while that may be dramatic, Nik Sharma's first cookbook, Season, did just that for us.
We often read cookbooks per recipe, today you need to make bread, so that is what you read, they aren't ever read in their entirety, always on a more need-to-cook basis. But Nik's cookbook is so much more than a food story, it's also the story of a young immigrant, of his family, of his coming out as gay, and of how he fell in love, but above all, a food story.
In the book's introduction Nik discloses, "Mine is the story of a gay immigrant, told through food. It has been a journey of self-discovery I embarked on more than a decade ago, one that taught me to recognize the inherent tension between originality and tradition, and to opt for the former without rejecting the latter."
"It's been a journey of acclimatization, adaptation, and acceptance. During times of discomfort, food became my friend and teacher. It taught me to reinterpret conventional techniques and flavours and apply these reinterpretations to my food that would become a part of my new life in America."
Seasoning is more than just a way to achieve flavor in the food we eat. It represents our desire to connect with our past, present, and future; it tells our story.
And those words are so true,
Like every true blue Bombayite, Nik emphasizes that despite the name change, it's always going to be Bombay to him. Other than the fact that this book completely blew us away, that little added information makes us love Nik a little more.
In a New York Times article he said, "Being gay, being brown, that's a part of me I can't hide, but I hope people see me as a writer and a photographer and a cook. These are the things I hope they see me as when I die."
And although the writer has included many Indian recipes and quite a few of his favourites too, he clarifies that it is NOT a traditional Indian cookbook,
I mean, if Otto Lenghi is tweeting about it, you know it's great: