'Celebrating Relationships' is a cookbook for a cause
I belong to a time when cookbooks were in high demand. In higher demand were the recipes passed down from generation to generation—I have a diary which contains recipes that I have collected from aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, my mother, and mother-in-law.
American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez once said, "The people who give you their food give you their heart." Celebrating Relationships (Onnoprokash, 2022) is a compilation of around 200 recipes from across the world with contributions from 75 individuals—friends, colleagues and family members, whose preparations have been loved and savoured by Dr Naushaba Singh, who was born in Bangladesh and studied in Viqarunnessa School and Holy Cross College. Singh has put her heart and soul into this collection of recipes, spreading her love and passion for food across the world.
Celebrating Relationships is a set of three books with an eclectic mix of recipes for appetisers, snacks, salads, soups, kebabs, desserts, bhartas, beverages, and delectable vegetarian and non-vegetarian main course dishes. It boasts of recipes from 32 countries—from Afghanistan to Greece to Ethiopia, along with staples from South East Asia.
The first book has a section with a small introduction of each of the countries the recipes are taken from, along with the food habits of those countries. Every recipe is credited to the person it is inspired from and the country it is staple to. The method of preparation of the dishes is detailed and very well explained, especially for amateur cooks. What I love most about this collection is that it is a personal recommendation of all these wonderful recipes. It shows that the recipes included here have been loved and savoured and have consequently found a place in these books.
The collection also consists of many Bangladeshi staples with a personal spin, such as aubergines with amchoor, stuffed karala, fish biryani, and the kulfi shake that I am looking forward to trying out. Mehreen Rahman has done a wonderful job of curating this rich combination of recipes, which also includes Russian dumplings, creta salad, apple soup, chicken on a bottle, with an assortment of breads, puddings, and cakes.
In my opinion, this collection would be useful to seasoned cooks and novices alike, because of its diversity of local and foreign recipes. I have to admit that I hadn't even heard of some of the dishes—like kluski ślâskie from Poland, and gado gado salad from east Java—that were presented in the book. But now, I can see myself buying more copies as gifts to my loved ones.
Notably, all the proceeds from the sales of Celebrating Relationships will be going to The Sameer Trust, which is a charitable organisation founded by Dr Naushaba Singh in Bangladesh. The organisation has been working towards providing for the underprivileged ever since its inception in various ways through support from patrons across the globe.
Tasneem Tambawala is feminist, educator, learner, with a belief that she can change the world one book at a time.