The classic recipe book Dadima No Varso which was a must-have in all Palanpuri Jain kitchens in recent decades, will now be available in an easy-to-use digital version. The website www.dadimanovarso.com went live on May 15, 2021, ensuring that those gorgeous delicacies that grandmothers and great grandmothers conjured up in the past, can someday be prepared by grandchildren and great-grandchildren too.
Henceforth, this classic compendium of recipes and cooking tips that form the essence of Gujarati cuisine, more particularly, Palanpuri Jain cuisine, will be just a click away and accessible anywhere across the world.
The website is in both English and Gujarati, and has a number of user-friendly features including an easy-to-browse navigation bar to locate a recipe, to download or even print one or multiple pages. Plus, there is an option to glance through the book in its original form using an online Flipbook! A complete PDF version has also been added, and can be downloaded too.
Widely appreciated by all who used Dadimano Varso to recreate their favourite dishes from childhood days, the book took shape thanks to the unstinting efforts of three ladies from the community – Nita Shailesh Mehta, Rajul Ajay Gandhi and Dr Satyavati Surajmal Mehta. “Our goal was not just another cooking book, but to keep up and recall the simple and traditional functional food,” they said.
The story behind the compilation is indeed memorable, involving the coordinated efforts and support of a number of others. In their original Preface, the authors wrote, “Few years have passed formulating this archive. Behind every page stands a team of enthusiastic individuals who have assisted us unconditionally… throughout the journey of the book.”
Active support from the Rachana Ladies group and a few others from the community was vital in compiling the list of recipes, the authors write, which emerged after “lengthy, electrifying discussions… giving rise to invaluable suggestions”.
Each recipe was tried out, some many times over, to make sure the ingredients and measures used were correct, with some of the elders providing assistance to “concoct innumerable recipes, with accurate measures of ingredients and precise methods”.
First published in 2006, the book was an immediate hit and had to be reprinted by 2012. Copies of the second edition too were soon almost unavailable. Requests for the recipe book however continued to be received, many from Palanpuri Jains now settled in different parts of the world.
Drawing on the success of Palanpur Online and its popularity among the community, the authors eventually decided that the third edition had to be more contemporary and took the steps necessary to launch it digitally.
“Digitalisation will make it easier to people in different locations and from the newer generations to access the contents of this book,” explains Dr Satyavati S. Mehta, expressing gratefulness to Palanpur Online for their role in creating the digital version and to Palanpur Samaj Kendra, Mumbai in publishing the previous editions of the book.
She believes that the influence of world cuisines and of nutrition and dietetics has impacted food habits of the next generation, but emphasises, “At times everyone craves for those distinctive flavours, the basic tastes, the sweet aroma, the rich colours and the stimulating textures that go with the everyday modest food of the yesteryears.”
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