Marriages may be made in heaven, but they are “enriched and strengthened at the dining table”, declares “happily married” chef Sanjeev Kapoor in the introduction to his latest Wedding Collection—Recipes for Newly-Weds. While the logic of that proclamation (and its political correctness) may be argued till you lose all appetite, what’s unarguably true is that a well-made, well-presented meal can be the most potent weapon any bride or groom can employ to win over in-laws and sweep the spouse off his/her feet. But for a significant section of Indian men, and an increasing number of urban women, skills in the kitchen are limited to making an omelette or boiling some Maggi. It is to this group that Kapoor squarely addresses himself in this lushly produced coffee-table book.
The book is divided into 10 sections, much like a restaurant menu—beverages, soups and salads, progressing to desserts via the main courses. The bonus is a small section of pickles and chutneys. The recipes, in trademark Kapoor style, are easy to make and mostly of Indian origin.
Also read | Amrita Roy’s earlier articles
The selection of recipes, though, is quite random, rather like a modern Indian wedding feast, as a colleague pointed out. For instance, in the vegetarian main course section, you find a Methi-Baingan and Thai-style Barbequed Vegetables lumped together. But if you are not too bothered, or irritated, by the fact that a Braised Lamb with Spinach and Leeks lies across the page from a Pan-Fried Pomfret in Hot Black Bean Sauce, which is followed by a typical Chicken Curry and Fish in Banana Leaves, this is a book for you.
Another quibble is the format. This collection is in no way different from Kapoor’s earlier collections. Yes, the production values are superior, but does that justify the four-figure price tag? Also, given that this is a coffee-table book and that in the last couple of years cookbooks have evolved almost into memoirs (think Suriani Kitchen, or The F Word), it would have been interesting to have had some backstories to go with the recipes: Which cuisine does capsicum kayra belong to? What is a rendang? A newly wed who is a novice in the kitchen would hardly be likely to know. But Kapoor chooses to just present some lists of ingredients and steps to cook them. Kapoor says in his author’s note, “Every dish, every meal has a story or evokes a memory.” If only Kapoor had shared his.
Wedding Collection: Recipes for Newly-Weds
128 pages, Rs 1,250.