Book recommendation: Cook and See

This week we recommend the book Cook and See by S Meenakshi Ammal (1951).

Ammal was a badass Tamil housewife who published her home cooking recipes in the early 1950’s, a time when cookbooks - and women authors were unheard of in Indian publishing.

Writing about women achievers who broke the glass ceiling would not be possible without the mention of S Meenakshi Ammal. This gritty lady wrote and published her first cookbook – Samaithu Paar (Cook and See) in 1951! This was even before the term ‘glass ceiling‘ was coined.

Her recipes come across quite stern, but not without super helpful tips like: “If the eggplant is not very tender and has seeds inside, soak a little tamarind (marble size) in a handful of water, prepare juice and sprinkle, instead of sprinkling plain water.” Written initially for young brides settling into their new homes, the book is a repository of traditional recipes cooked in a typical Brahmin household.

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