Mita Kapur's book The F Word - A book that attempts to humanize food

By: Mauli

If you are conservative in your thinking, you are most likely to say this: give too much freedom, increase troubles for yourself. But what happens if you were to give freedom to all and yet actually manage to carry all along? Impossible, you’d say. Right?

Well, pretty much but if you were author Mita Kapur, you’d beg to differ. For coming from a huge family (rather the family she has married into), here was a lady who was constantly trying to juggle and manage the varying and highly individualistic tastes of her family members when it came to food. This was one challenge that hit her early in her married life and has continued right through motherhood as well.

It was experiences like these and successive experiments to dish out a nutritious yet delicious meal, day after day, that led to her penning her new book, The F Word. Needless to say, this is a book packed with seriously good recipes to suit every taste however conservative or weird!

About the book
Conversing about the book, the first query that was only natural was why such a name? The ‘F Word’ is after all, replete with implications. To this Kapur simply put that it was a smart twist that her editors thought of giving. It surely made witty sense as the name does stand out. Besides, she said, hers was a quirky take on food and thus a quirky name was only befitting.

But why food? Kapur was of the opinion that food has been and still remains an expression of culture and times. Her book was her spontaneous response to the world around her… taking in the sights, sounds and experiences she has been facing for long. It included handling the demands of a disparate gang of family members of varying ages and extreme tastes. She has for long battled the dilemma of serving variety with health consciousness. This included tackling the demands of a teenaged daughter!

Or as she put it “constantly badgered by the culinary demands of a food-obsessed family” she has had to swing between papad, peanuts and pepperoni every evening.

And added how her “beloved raw veggies and fruit salads appear undercover on the menu while bruschettas are kept on standby in case her daughter threw a fit at the sight of yet another bowl of dal and bland potatoes”.

Explaining further, Kapur said that her inspiration was certainly food simply because she loved cooking! Also that she wanted to record the changing contours and demands of the Indian kitchen. Somewhere there was this desire to understand and possibly appreciate the manner in which Indian kitchen has constantly evolved itself to keep abreast with changing times becoming eclectic, absorbing new flavors over time while keeping today’s lifestyles in mind.

Kapur added that it was also her attempt to break the notion that cooking is boring, a fact that her daughter and possibly daughters on today so believe in. It was her way of telling her daughter that cooking is not down-market.

Having said so, Kapur added that her book was not simply a cook book. She was a sum total of her experiences in life which included her travels, both international as well as to the interiors of India… and indeed, in the process, she felt she had humanized food.

Given the mix of her family; she being a Sindhi and her husband a Punjabi and with a daughter studying in the US, various influences were bound to blend creating what she hopes, are new flavours.

About the author
Kapur is a popular name in journalism. She writes for various newspapers and magazines on subjects ranging from women’s rights to lifestyle and food. She also runs literary agency based in Jaipur called Siyahi and is among the co-organisers of the immensely popular Jaipur Literary Festival that happens every year in February.

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