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About the Book
My Mother’s Kitchen is an enchanting place filled with promise, change and good food. If the weathered walls of this magical room could talk they would tell the story of Meena and her childhood life. Each chapter is a slice in her young life and depicts her spunk and youthful spirit. A visit to the local Fruit and Flower Show becomes an adventure as told by Meena. Her distress at finding out about her aunt’s dark secret or her joy of making a new friend are all told in her naïve, yet pure voice. Her mother is a central character in her life and it is no wonder that the kitchen is a special place of healing and rejuvenation, not only for Meena, but for other characters like Kashi and Ayah.
“It makes perfect sense that recipes should slip into a story about life and its richness. They do so effortlessly, as it should be. I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely book about food, culture, and family in India. Adding the food element has the effect of making it somehow universal.”
—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
“A delicious read filled with delectable recipes.”
—Padma Venkatraman, award-winning author of Climbing the Stairs, Island’s End and A Time to Dance
“…It’s packed with insights on Indian culture, cooking and eating, and will appeal across the board…It’s the smoky aromas of cooking and the culinary insights peppered liberally throughout which set My Mother’s Kitchen apart from most other novels about Indian culture and experience.”
—D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Meera Ekkanath Klein brings the rich flavors and the sumptuous tastes of India to life in her first book, My Mother’s Kitchen. Part cookbook, part fiction, it introduces American readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the West. Klein offers easy-to-follow recipes and lifts the veil that has often concealed Indian life. Her memories of India, where she was born and raised, lifts this book far above the ordinary. A must-read for mothers and daughters eager to try new spices, My Mother’s Kitchen paints a portrait of an ancient culture of rare beauty and mouth-watering food.”
—Jonah Raskin, author of Field Days, A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California
“Any American writer whose focus is India faces a daunting task. Much literature has gone before and has helped create a fortress that might be called the India of the Mind. It’s everything from “Jungle Book” to “The Jewel in the Crown.”
Meera Ekkanath Klein’s collection of stories, My Mother’s Kitchen: A Novel With Recipes, set in the fictional South Indian town of Mahagiri, tries something new: the multi-sensual narrative. The author understands that human interactions take place within a framework of smells, often associated with the preparation and consumption of food. This stylistic tool adds a new dimension to the stories.
Klein tells stories about families that unwind in the confines and security of a kitchen, where naturally the principals are often engaged in preparing food. The settings, like the stories themselves, are simple and unadorned. They unfold in bite-sized chunks, with occasional actual recipes inserted to bring home the point.
The stories, like the recipes, are soothing and healing, and like the best of folk tales, they carry a useful message for living one’s life.
A smile comes to the reader’s face upon realizing that compassion, forgiveness and gratitude carry the day. It is the received wisdom of the dinner table.”
— William J. Drummond, Author and Professor of Journalism, University of Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.
“Don’t know about you, but when I hear the words ‘comfort food’ my thoughts go right to the Deep South. Say ‘Indian comfort food’ and the same thing happens—my mouth starts to water uncontrollably at the thought of lemon rice, coconut chutney, aviyal, vegetable sambar with those feather-light rice dumplings called iddlis, creamy cardamom-spiked payasam, and all the other delicacies that make Kerala cuisine so special…oh, my! Meera Klein is an exceptionally able and versatile cook with a finely tuned palate, and these recipes reflect all of that. Full disclosure: I’ve known her since she was a spirited little girl remarkably like Meena, the protagonist of My Mother’s Kitchen. What fun that she’s become as skilled at spinning a yarn as she is at turning out sumptuous meals!”
—Carol Lee Flinders, author of Enduring Grace and At the Root of this Longing
About the Author
Award-winning author, Meera Ekkanath Klein, deftly weaves her love of cooking and storytelling into an irresistible tale. My Mother’s Kitchen: A novel with recipes (2014, Homebound Publications) was selected as a Winner in the 2015 International Book Awards in the Multi-Cultural Fiction category. The book was also selected as Finalist in the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Awards and in 2015 Beverly Hills International Book Awards, both in the Multi-Cultural Fiction category. She was one of 40 authors at the celebrated 2015 Authors on the Move fundraiser for the Sacramento Library Foundation dinner and auction. She was featured on Capital Public Radio on April 2, 2015 and interviewed by host Beth Ruyak. She has participated in the Local Author Festival at the Sacramento Library and will be a presenter at the Great Valley Book Fest in October. She will also make presentations at the Woodland Friends of the Library annual meeting in June and at the Greenhaven/Pocket area Library in July. A former newspaper reporter and columnist, Klein, honed her writing skills in a busy newsroom. She mastered the art of Indian cooking in her own mother’s kitchen in the beautiful Blue Mountains or Nilgiris of south India. Klein currently lives in northern California and is completing a sequel to My Mother’s Kitchen, as well as a YA book based on Indian legends and mythology.