mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Another One Bites…

In Ruminations and rants on February 19, 2007 at 9:35 pm

I debated if I should. I must. Tell you. Though you are sure to discover it anyhow.

CYG
treasured clips

There is a new blog. You could call it old, though. Did you read one of my earliest posts here on Adai, the other Dosa? If you did, then you may remember I mentioned a certain CY Gopinath and his wonderful writing. He used to write a most delicious column on food in TOI back in the early 90’s when TOI was still readable (they were always sloppy it seems; look carefully at the pic in the ‘dosa’ article, it is upside down!). And since you probably know by now that I was a Dravidian in my previous life and not this one, his descriptions became the source of many of the South Indian staples I continue to make even today. His writing style conveyed trusted authenticity of the food he shared wrapped in wonderful stories.

Those of you who were in Kindergarten at the time, and limited by their reading skills (or lack of them), can rejoice. CYG has decided to re-publish his writings as a blog! There are no two opinions – it is amongst the best food writing there is! And the tone is truly Indian. It’s a treat. Apparently, I had something to do with it🙂 – he came across the mention on my post and decided to start Gopium (great name too)! Ahem…so feel free to send a tiny “thank you” my way too.🙂

The trouble is, he’s on a roll – as of this moment there are 16 very delectable posts out already! You have lots of catching up to do. Read this one on Kashmiri cooking to know why there are so few Kashmiri recipes here!

And, you are very welcome.

Tags: food writing; C Y Gopinath; Gopium; TOI

  1. Oh THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU dear lady🙂
    I used to read him, Busybee and Vir Sanghvi whenever I could! First Tarla Dalal now CY Gopinath..looks like we are gonna be out of business ;-D

    As I already said Ashwini, you are very welcome! Though we may not go entirely out of business (I agree with Manisha, there’s no threat fromTarla Dalal) we will definitely pale in comparison. (We have an edge; we started beforehand and have a hopefully loyal reader-group by now, and he isn’t posting pictures yet!).

  2. I am thrilled! I usd to love his columns. Definitely adding it to my RSS feeds right away!

    I am, however, not so engaged by the Tarla Dalal blog. I wonder who her son hired to write her blog – I will find it very heard to believe if I am told Tarla Dalal is writing it herself. Don’t get me wrong, my very first Indian recipe books were hers. The Joys of Veg. Cooking books were a treat, and remain till today. However the rest of the stuff that is churned out in her name, by her son Sanjay, lacks attention to quality control. For example, the recipe for Ginger Chicken has – gasp! – no ginger in it. The language is poor and you can tell that there are hundreds of monkeys typing the stuff out in her name. I bought some of her ‘new’ cookbooks on my last visit to India because I thought the quallty would be as good as her older books. I wish I had done more research at the time!

    I’m still chuckling over some parts of your post😉

    I have never been a Tarla Dalal fan (apologies to all her fans). I have only read her bits in newspapers and such (and have never visited her blog either) and didn’t need the hybridization she seemed to be presenting at the time, so never went back to it. I would first need to understand a regional cuisine in its true flavour and then hybridize it myself (if I wanted to)!. I am a Madhur Jaffery fan. Now she has an engaging style and is really able to present the ‘Flavours of India’ in their true spirit, and must use the same yardstick when writing about other regions. I end up reading this particular book for hours, get lost inthe book, and then realize I have missed the dinner deadline!

  3. Yipey! off to gopium in a bit! Anita you have been inspiration to me too don’t forget ;)LOL. I’m one crazy baker now!

    Seriously I too was a loyal then.

    Glad to give back a little of the inspiration I get from all of you!

  4. Dear Manisha
    We would like to inform you that Mrs Dalal writes only vegetarian recipes and hence has never published a recipe of ginger chicken without ginger.
    As regards her cookbooks, she has a team of chefs and nutritionists who work relentlessly to bring out a variety of thoroughly researched cookbooks.
    We are sorry you did not like some of the books but do tell us what you did not like in the books and we assure you that the problem will be discussed as priority. We would like for you to try some of our recipes. Do write to me at arati@tarladalal.com so I can give you a free membership of our website tarladalal.com for 7 days so you can browse through our recipes.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Regards
    Arati Fedane

    Head, Research Team of Tarla Dalal

    Manisha, you write here as well??!!🙂

    Sorry, Ms Fedane. Look for Manisha here.

  5. Anita I am not able to post a comment on Gopium as it allows only wordpress users. Pl. could you request CYG to enable blogger too. If you cld post this one for me I would be really happy.

    For CYG:
    I have lived in fort between the age of 8-16yrs and Yezdani is iconic. I’m linking you in my Mumbai pao post. I love their brun maska dipped in chai with the butter floating in the tea after the dip.

    CYG thank you for blogging we are able to read your writting again.

    Done! (and, oops, sorry – I credited it to Giniann! But have let CYG know.

  6. Anita, I have never read anything by CYG. Thanks for introducing us to his blog. I started to read and cant stop. Just wanted to say thank you to you before I get too immersed.
    Funny part is, I didn’t even miss the pictures in the ‘food’ blog.
    I am a total fan!

    You are very welcome!

  7. Oops on my part! It’s called being lax with the name of the recipe, and worse, I mixed up the main ingredients and included chicken in it when I know Tarla Dalal is known for her vegetarian recipes. I have chicken on my mind! My sincere apologies to Tarla Dalal’s team!

    Now look at the funny side of this. If her book, which is not free, can get mixed up between ingredients, I’m just a a single person who blogs with no book to her credit!😀

    I pulled the dusty recipe book out. The recipe is called Chilli garlic sauce (Shung tung sauce) pg 65 of Chinese Cooking (Vegetarian). The list of ingredients has no garlic. The book says “Ninth Printing : 2000” and has “Copy right @ 1994 Sanjay & Co.”.

    So Aarti, Tarla’s team of chefs and nutritionists, typists, and anyone else who I may have missed out, you could try to pass this off as a typo. But ginger for garlic cannot be a typo and should not be a typo. It’s poor quality control. Thank you very much for the offer for a 7 day membership. But no thank you! I used to be a huge fan of Tarla Dalal, that changed when the books became prolific and even the quality of paper used in the books dropped. When I say this, I am comparing all the subsequent books I bought with my very first two Joys of Vegetarian Cooking I and II.

    Sorry to take up your comment space for this, Anita!

    Crass commercialism?! Who has the time to read – apparently CYG stopped writing for TOI because they told him people had trouble reading more than 600 words at a time…? A lot of people believe that it seems!

    And you are always welcome to take as much space as you need.

  8. Hi Anita,
    I can understand how you feel about Tarla Dalal but she was the first one who introduced me to the world of recipes. I remember baking my first Spinach Florentine (with no eggs) from her cookbook. That was in my infancy. I still have her books on my shelf but I seldom reach for them, perchance out of nostalgia.
    I think before all these mavens (Madhur Jaffrey et al), she should be credited for making vegetarian cooking popular and bringing foreign dishes to Indians ( a la vegetarian). Today we have the internet and other resources to search for recipes but she brought recipes to ordinary folks in India back in the day.

    I am not amongst her fans. But her books are ‘best sellers’, so there are lots of fans out there, just not me. Nothing personal. There were so many other books to read – and I do like to read my cook books too!

  9. Anita-
    Yes indeed! A thousand words of gratitude! He’s a great writer…and a great “doler-outer” of recipe jewels…I am a bit sore from sitting and reading his compositions, but it was worth it🙂

    There’s a price! And, we are also required to have a longish attention span!🙂 But we do,thank God.

  10. Anita and Manisha-
    Well….at least they mentioned the chicken…😀

  11. Anita-
    I’ve found that a “longish attention span” can get one into some difficult situations with personalities tending to its direct opposite…:-)
    You stated that his tone is “truly Indian”…this intrigues me, as, ashamedly I admit, the most I have ever read to date are cookbooks and translated folk tales…any suggestions for a starting point?
    His tone reminded me a bit of Franz Kaftka…except that, unlike Kaftka, he concludes his observations, and rather wittily at that!

    Hi Pelicano: By ‘Indian’ I mean he weaves the cultural aspect into the food writing very well. And what is food outside context? We are getting to read a lot of good food writing on the blogs today, but most of them are about western food and culture. Some of the nuances are lost on us – though some of the American things I am familiar with.

    CYG presents India’s glorious food along with her (crazy) colourful people, the Punjabi vs the Kashmiri vs the Parsee…We can read between the lines! We may look similar (only to the outsider), but, boy, we seem altogether different species sometimes!🙂

  12. Thanks Anita. I’m able to comment on Gopium now.

  13. Hi A,
    Saw this post a few days ago and then dived headlong ino Gopium, even this variety of Opium is quite intoxicationg…and thanks to Anjali for voicing out the blogger problem, i was dying to comment on the DOSAI post of his, now i can do it.

    Wow Manisha has attracted some attention here, and I must say that the Tarla Dalal team is quite efficient is sweeping the webspace for links and comments. I agree with Manisha that I was fascinated by the initial few cookbooks and at that time we neither had the internet (sounds like a few centuries ago) nor the food blogs, and Tarla Dalal was the first exposure to ‘new’ cooking, but my interest has waned after the company started mass producing the book series.

    Thanks for the tip off, we have one more droolworthy blog, and this one makes us drool sans the pics.

    Loyalty demands attention to detail and good work. We know why we have been (will be) loyal to CYG.

  14. Anita-
    Lately and especially after reading your reply, I am thinking more and more that a one-week (and first)trip to India would be equivalent to walking past a table laden with an unending variety of dishes and sampling just a bite of one…definitely i must figure out a way to stretch it to a month, at least. During Holi perhaps for even more “colour”!🙂

    Your statement, “And what is food outside context?” Indeed! My favorite cookbooks and blogs are those that have a story along with the recipe. What a great insight into the experience of other people! So different and yet, so much the same.

    Hi Pelicano: You are planning a trip to India (this Holi?)! Around Holi is a good time when it has not hotted up in the North, and yet the winter is over. Yes, a week is very short, unless you plan to cover only a very small area. For example, you could probably cover just the Agra-Jaipur-Delhi triangle in that week; anyting more and it would be too much. A month is a better idea, if you can spare the time, and take a ‘slower’ kind of break, where you are not rushing from one place to the next. Remember, India can also be overwhelming for some. But you will find willing guides in a lot of your ‘blog’-friends!

  15. Anita,don’t know whether to thank you or Anjali for having gotten to read C Y Gopi’s posts.I have never read anything by him before,but I was immediately taken in by the way he writes.I agree with ou-he weaves the indianness of our identities into his food so easily.Thank you again for posting this.

  16. Hi Anita, allow me to add my voice to the chorus of hoorays and thank-yous. Of course I had never heard of Mr. Gopinath until today; it’s my good fortune that I happened to peek into your blog so early this morning! What a lovely way to learn more about Indian culture and cuisine🙂

    Best wishes
    Linda

    Hi Linda. Happy to have helped start your day off well!

  17. Anita,
    Thanks for your comment at our site. We found CYG’s blog through yours…thank you for that. Bee used to read all of CYG’s articles in TOI “back when TOI was readable.” We like your blog and writing style a lot.

    Jai

    Hi, Jai…Thanks for the encouraging words!

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