One Kerala family’s lockdown project — a book of recipes — is also a compilation of memories

How one household compiled its sentiments and recipes spanning a number of generations, continents and cultures, creating a legacy that is now being changed into an e-book

Though Ambat Kunjikutty Amma is no extra, her presence as household matriarch may be felt in each web page of Kaipunyam – A Gift of Magical Flavours, a digital book of household recipes and food-related memories.

What began as a lockdown exercise by the descendants of her 5 daughters and 4 sons — granddaughters, nice granddaughters and daughters-in-law of every technology — to be in contact with one another, turned out to be a labour of love.

Compiled as a culinary memoir, the book criss-crosses cities, international locations and continents as relations scattered throughout the globe chipped in with memories relived. While some wrote in, the others advised their meals tales.

Ambat Kunjikutty Amma together with her grandchildren  

The genesis of these, spanning generations, lies in a stately home in Chittur, Palakkad known as Janaki Vilas, named after Kunjikutty Amma’s mom Janaki Amma. Widowed at 28, Kunjikutty Amma raised her youngsters there. She handed away in 1959. The household home is the main target of the meals memories.

As a lot because the compilation is about meals, it is also about love — for mom, father, sibling and the in-laws too. The 21 chapters span memories from greater than 50 years in the past, from the simply-named ‘mom’s sambar’, rooster curry, pappada vada and Gurkhali chutney to tomato fried egg. The latter is the contribution of Qingdi Huang, who is married to at least one of Kunjikutty Amma’s nice grandsons. The modifying and illustrations are by the feminine members of the household.

This is not the Ambat family’s first lockdown project: earlier, in May-June, the ladies had labored on a music-dance video, a digital compilation, through which they showcased their expertise. The compilation resulted in a WhatsApp group — Rocking Family — solely for the ladies of the household, fashioned by Malaysia-based Vineetha Panicker. The cookbook originated from conversations within the group.

Rathi Menon, retired Head of Department (Malayalam), St Xavier’s College, Aluva, advised they compile the recipes. She is married to at least one of Kunjikutty Amma’s grandsons. “Hers was an initiative that proved to be a great way to connect with each other as well,” word the editors and sisters, Sudha Prabhakar and Usha Menon.

One Kerala family’s lockdown project — a book of recipes — is also a compilation of memories

The whole book, cowl to cowl, is the work of the ladies of the household. The youngest of the lot like Bharati Rohit and Anjali Narendra illustrated the back and front covers respectively. At 17, Anjali is the youngest to be half of the project. Seventy five-year-old Kamala Pillai rediscovered her ardour for portray when she illustrated a chapter. Each chapter is accompanied by a {photograph} of the contributor with their mom or mother-in-law whose recipes are in it.

The Janaki Vilas family cooked greens accessible inside their compound, says Vasanthi Aravind. Breadfruit was a lot, which was made into mezhukkupuratti (a dry dish made with shallots and chilli, crushed and fried in coconut oil). Other dishes, cooked typically had been, olan, molokoshyam (a preparation of toor dal, vegetable of selection cooked with salt, turmeric and chilli powder) made with papaya, moringa leaves, Chinese potato or pigeon pea.

For some, the train of choosing one or two dishes was an emotional expertise. Like Sudha Menon, whose mom died when she was two. Her relationship with meals was formed largely by her father. For her, it is a metaphor for the bond she shares with him and her brother.

For Qingdi, who is of Chinese descent, contributing to this book was an acknowledgement of the love and affection her husband’s household has proven her. She says, “I have fond memories of the first time I met Sandeep’s family. Although I was quite nervous, their warmth made me feel instantly at ease. For me, becoming part of the family was very natural, as they welcomed me with open arms. Although the time we spent together in person was short, we always shared laughs, long conversations, and I wish I could learn more of Amma’s cooking.” Qingdi’s recipe is a dish her grandmother used to cook dinner. She also cooks Indian meals corresponding to sambar, idli, dosa, chutney, and fish curry too.

The household is so buoyed by the response for the book that they’re planning to deliver it out within the print kind.

You have reached your restrict without cost articles this month.

To get full entry, please subscribe.

Already have an account ? Sign in

Show Less Plan

Subscription Benefits Include

Today’s Paper

Find mobile-friendly model of articles from the day’s newspaper in a single easy-to-read record.

Faster pages

Move easily between articles as our pages load immediately.

Unlimited Access

Enjoy studying as many articles as you want with none limitations.


A one-stop-shop for seeing the most recent updates, and managing your preferences.

Personalised suggestions

A choose record of articles that match your pursuits and tastes.


We transient you on the most recent and most essential developments, 3 times a day.

*Our Digital Subscription plans don’t at present embody the e-paper ,crossword, iPhone, iPad cellular purposes and print. Our plans improve your studying expertise.

Leave a Reply