You can’t say she didn’t warn you. Rakhee Vaswani is described as a “celebrity chef and culinary expert” on the cover and endorsed by some of Bollywood’s best inside. That’s the caveat with which you venture inside and, for what it’s worth, Picky Eaters never veers too far from form.
If you can overlook that—as well the you-can-do-it tone of gentle hectoring—Picky Eaters, while not violently original, does a decent job of reiterating common sense: eat together, involve the kids in shopping and cooking, avoid stress at mealtimes. This, the first section of the book, with its combination of reassurance and blithe confidence (“If you follow my advice, your kids will slowly get accustomed to their schedule and their complaints will also reduce.”), may call for a bit of eye-rolling, but Vaswani redeems herself in Part Two, the Recipes.
Vaswani also offers plenty of advice on disguising abhorred vegetables, substituting labneh for cream and skipping the fish sauce altogether in favour of smiling faces: To a non-parent, the level of manipulation may seem truly epic but, of course, that’s not the readership being addressed here.
On the “I wish” side of the balance, I missed an index of the recipes and better photographs (at least one seemed completely out of focus). Also, there should’ve been some clarity on the age-group of the children who are to benefit from the book: A six-year-old’s needs can hardly be equated with a sixteen-year-old’s.
Baking powder: 1tbsp
Baking soda: Half tsp
Salt: Half tsp
Milk: 1 cup (200ml) skimmed milk/buttermilk
Butter: 1tbsp, melted
Bananas: 2, mashed
Maple syrup: as required
Whipped cream: as required
1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl and keep aside.
2. In another bowl, mix the milk, butter, egg and mashed bananas.
3. Add the flour mixture, taking care not to over mix it.
4. Heat a flat griddle or pan over medium-high heat.
5. Spoon drops of 1 and a half - 2tbsp of the batter on the hot griddle and when bubbles appear on the surface of the little pancakes, flip them over to make them golden brown on both sides. A minute or two on each side should do it.
6. Serve hot with maple syrup and some whipped cream.
Picky Eaters And Other Meal-Time Battles By Rakhee Vaswani published by Random House India, 183 pages, Rs.299