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August 21 , 2007

Monsoon Diary

Reveries And Recipes From South India


MONSOON DIARY weaves a fascinating food narrative that combines authentic vegetarian recipes from South India with tales from Shoba Narayan's life, stories of her delightfully eccentric family, and reflections on Indian culture.

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Shoba recounts her childhood in South India, a portrait of small-town life richly populated by characters like the flower woman who brings jasmine for the gods, the milkman who names his cows after his wives, and the iron-man who picks up red-hot coals with his bare hands. Food is so important to her family that when Shoba wins a scholarship to study in America, they only agree to let her go if she prepares a successful banquet. She returns home to an arranged marriage - to her surprise, the family have chosen well - and later there are visits from her many relatives, old and new, to her home in New York City.

In MONSOON DIARY, Shoba Narayan's culinary talent is matched by stories as varied as Indian spices - at times pungent, mellow, piquant and sweet. Her characters, like Shoba herself, have a thing or two to say about cooking and about life.

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