Cook and see – Meenakshi ammal

This is the oldest and most authentic guide to the dishes of Tamil nadu. It is the first published cook book in Tamil. First version of this book was published in 1951 by S Meenakshi Ammal. This book was originally written in Tamil, titled Samaithu paar  meaning cook and see. It is also available in English translation.

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Author:

The author was born in a traditional Tamil family in the early 1900s. She started helping with cooking during child hood, as was the norm for girl children in her time. By the age of 8, she was well versed in all traditional recipes. She wrote down her recipes for relatives who went to the USA and other countries after marriage. Her recipes were famous for their authenticity and simplicity. Later on, her recipes were collected and published as a book.

Book:

There are 4 volumes of this book by the same title name. Volume 1 covers the basic everydaydishes like sambar and rasam. The author starts with the basic recipe of sambar, and follows it up with different varieties of sambar. The same style of writing is followed through out.

Volumes 2, 3 and 4 cover festival dishes, sweets, pickles etc. Volume 1 is for beginners, while rest of the volumes are for well experienced cooks.

Meenakshi ammal makes cooking simple. She sticks to the basics. Her measurements are visually indicative like a fistful of coconut, pea sized tamarind, etc.. making it easy for beginners. Her recipes give guaranteed results.

Each recipe takes no more than half a page. She focuses on the basic aspects of every dish, leaving it to the reader to customize recipes according to their taste. A must have for anyone interested in Tamil dishes.

This book is a wonderful reference and glossary covering every possible authentic dish of Tamil nadu. 

 

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Book Review – Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

“Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg is an inspiring practical guide for women who work. The author is the COO of Facebook. With her immense experience in the corporate world, she writes about how women can find success in the corporate world.

Before Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book, her Ted speech on the same topic was a big hit among the women audience. Seeing how the Lean In principle helped many ladies, she went on to write this book on the same topic.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This book is interesting in that it does not blame any part of the society for problems faced by working women. Instead the author writes about  how every woman can solve her problems by herself. In short, she says women should have the attitude to Lean in towards their work, mentally and consciously.

Starting from salary negotiations to social networking, this book is filled with practical tips and guidance. Example given in this book are common ones that all of us can identify with. She also talks about how to focus on both family and work, by encouraging family members to share responsibilities.

Practical insights, simple solutions, psychological analysis are the main points of this book. It has helped me  to a great extent to regain a sense of balance in my life. I would recommend this book for all ladies, working or not. It definitely helps expand our world and bring clarity to our thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Baby and Child Care – by Dr.Benjamin Spock

This book was first published about 65 years back, in the year 1946. It is a useful reference book for parents with children of all ages.

Dr.Spock was an American perdiatrician.  He was a pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis for children. In other words, he was one of the first people to study children’s emotional and psychological needs. His studies led to the emergence of flexible and affectionate ways of bringing up children. He stessed the importance of respecting children as individuals. His book emphasises that the best way to bring up children is to rely on understanding and common sense.

Baby and child care

There are separate sections in this book dealing with pregnancy, new born babies, toddlers, children and proceeds up to teen agers. It gives a clear understanding of what to expect at every stage of child growth. There are no mention of growth indicators or milestones. Instead there is a summary of what might be the normal growth pattern in children.

This book clearly lists reasons behind behavioural problems of children. It gives parents tips on how to handle behavioural problems. Starting from continous night time crying of 2 month old babies, to temper tantrums in 2 year olds to irritable behviour in teen agers… this book states psychological reasons that drive children and how to handle these problems without disturbing the child.

In addition, this books also has a full fledged medical reference to ailments, injuries and allergies in children. It is a handy reference to understand when your child needs medical help and how to give emergency medical aids to children. Have you fretted over your 1 year old son when he swallowed a  coin, or worried that your 3 year old ate too much of hot sauce when you were fixing her meal? This book lists all such minor ailments and injuries common to children.

There is an India specific edition of this book on the stands. It has content more relevant for parents in India. Available with all major online book sellers,  including Flipkart and Amazon. This book is definitely worth every single rupee you pay for. It will appeal to all this who are looking for a reliable reference for child growth.

This is one book that certainly makes parenting more enjoyable!