Mita Kapur, the founder and CEO of Siyahi, India’s leading literary consultancy, is just out with her second book Chillies and Porridge: Writing Food. Her first book, The F-Word, is also a food book, memoir and travelogue.
Mita says the experience of food can mean many things to many people. Whether it’s carrying a chilli around to dinner parties in the UK or finding out what it really means to be a vegetarian in a carnivorous world, whether it’s exploring the junk food revolution in India or discovering the art of slow cooking. Her book is essentially a full-bodied collection of food writing that will take you back to the kitchens of your childhood, and far out to realms of imagined flavours and sensory excitement.
A joyous mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, the homegrown and the street-born, Chillies and Porridge is a celebration of that most vital ingredient of life: food…
Iram Tasleem talks to her and finds out more
1. This is your second book after F Word in 2010, which is also a book about food? Your second book, Chillies and Porridge: Writing Food is also inspired by food? How come food is the main narrative in both your books till now?
I am a foodie, I love to cook and experiment with flavours, textures, aromas. Food is a passion with me.
2. In this book, you have contributors sharing their fondest memories about food. How have their experiences enriched you?
3. Why should people read your book?
If they love food, they’ll love the book.
4. What are the things you took care of while editing the essays by eminent writers and columnists?
As editor one has to take care that the voice of the author and the essence of the piece remains untouched. All the contributors are established writers so it wasn’t difficult for me at all. In fact, each essay left me hungry for more.
5. In your book you have tried to bring together different flavours of food from across the globe. What is it that are common and different about food and their recipes?
There are no recipes in this book. Food as an experience is the main focus.
6. You are a multi-tasker. You write, manage literary events, produce and conceptualise literary festivals, meet authors and deadlines, how do you find time to do all these and yet write. What is your advice for aspiring English writers, especially from Rajasthan?
If you love what you are doing you find time for everything.
7. Also you are part of Jaipur Literature Festival but with so many festivals sprouting up in Kolkata, Mumbai, Boulder, Thames elsewhere and your Mountain Echoes in Bhutan, do you think these festivals are here to stay and will become more popular day by day.
Yes, festivals are here to stay.