Travel writing & the art of writing about Food


“we counted fourteen separate hors d’oeuvres – artichoke hearts, tiny sardines fried in batter, perfumed tabouleh, creamed salt cod, marinated mushrooms, baby calamari, tapenade, small onions in a fresh tomato sauce, celery and chick-peas, radishes and cherry tomatoes, cold mussels. Balanced on top of the loaded tray were thick slices of pate and gherkins, saucers of olives and cold peppers. The bread had a fine crisp crust. There was white wine in the ice bucket, and a bottle of Chateauneauf-du-Pape left to breathe in the shade”

” The main course arrived – rosy slices of lamb cooked with whole cloves of garlic, young green beans and a golden potato-and-onion galette

“The cheese was from Banon, moist in its wrapping of vine leaves, then came the triple flavours and textures of the desserts – lemon sorbet, chocolate tart, and creme angalise all sharing a plate. A coffee. A glass of marc from Gigondas. A sigh of contentment.”

Peter Mayle can be irritating. Here I had just finished what most observers would call a sumptuous Sunday lunch and settled down to read his “A year in Provence” and before you know it, I am panting for more food. I must say this for the man. He can bring food alive . Continue reading

Times Food Guide 2008 Awards and launch in Bangalore


(Telugu actress – or, Actor as they seem to prefer it – Ileana giving away a prize)

The latest edition of the Times Food Guide, Bangalore was launched over the weekend with much fanfare at the Windsor Manor.  And I found myself in a Page 3 gathering, not my natural watering-hole. For some reason, the good folks who ran this shindig decided that I was to be one of the 20 odd people giving away a prize and so I found myself wedged inside an unlikely group including Kannada actors Ramya & Ganesh , the snooker player Pankaj Advani and Wipro CFO Suresh Senapati among others.

I gave away the prize to Dakshin the south Indian cuisine restaurant at the Windsor. Which was a relief, since I do genuinely like Dakshin. But specialty food in 5 star restaurants is, in general, not for true foodies. Continue reading

Medusa the temptress has a step-sister..

Remember how sea-farers of antiquity fell prey to the temptress Medusa? Well, a little known mythological fact is that Medusa had a younger step-sister who mysteriouly disappeared at birth (a bit like Nirupa Roy who was forever losing Amitabh Bachan or Sashi Kapoor at birth all across the 70s). Many centuries later, Nostradamus – yes, him again – predicted the imminent reappearance of the lost step-sister in a little island in the middle of the ocean, bearing chinense, a temptation of unknown evil.

Last night, the step-sister appeared before me and she gave me what I now realise, was chinense. With less than 8 hours left before I am carried away to the mystery island never to return, I am fighting time to set out the secret of this evil temptation for all to be-ware.

The step-sister is called Lucia, the evil chinense is red and comes out of a small bottle!

And the extent of its evil power has finally been found – somewhere between 150,000 to 325,000 scoville units.