Story Behind the Book

“Any American cook who longs to plunge deeply into the cuisine of India is bound to grow impatient with the cookbooks offered by major United States publisher….But mainstream cookbook publishers are no longer the only game in town.”  Anne Mendelson, New York Times – July 18. 2007

Pushpa Bhargava is a mother of two who came to the US in 1972 as a newlywed.  Pushpa currently lives outside New York city in New Jersey with her husband Vikram.  She has two children who are business executives in the greater New York area.

She has seen a whole generation of Indian Americans including her own two children grow from birth to highly successful professionals.  As rich as their American experience has been, she felt they missed out on the warmth of the touch of mothers, aunts and grandmothers that she had the privilege of having grown up with in a traditional home in India.

Her book was initially an attempt to fill that gap that started as hand written recipes for her own children.

To her pleasant surprise, there was a huge base of mainstream US and International customers who saw the same value in the book.  In less than two years the first edition was completely sold out -mostly through street fairs and personal networking.  It was replaced by the second edition – that was available through the main stream book outlets and websites.  It also sold out in about a year.

It is currently in its fifth printing!

The book exemplifies a wonderful and unique trait of the American life… “If you will build it, he will come.” (Movie – “Field of Dreams”).

Pushpa dared to “build’ a book.  And the users came!

Thus, this is a story of a loving home maker mother and her engineer husband who had few resources and little knowledge of writing or publishing.  Through sheer grit and determination lasting almost eight years and with the help of friends, family and a camera, they toiled on perfecting the recipes, designing the book, starting a publishing company, going to Book Fairs and finding a willing printer.

How did I get the idea of writing this cook book?

Between my own children, large extended family, and even larger circle of friends, I had dozens of young adults and grown ups who would look to me for help on preparing daily and fancy meals. This led me to the realization that a formal collection of their favorite recipes would be my gift not only to them, but for generations to come.

What motivated me to write this book?

I still remember being a newlywed and struggling to put together the meals that my mother used to make so effortlessly. It is with this in mind that I put together this collection of recipes and useful tips for my children, who had recently gotten married and started families of their own. Both worked very long hours and still came home and tried to make the meals they grew up eating. With this book in their kitchen, it is like I am there every night helping them put dinner on the table for their own families.

Why is this book different?

My generation was fortunate to have mothers and other older women in the family around to patiently teach the art of cooking as we were growing up. I feel the newer generations growing up outside of India are really missing out on this wonderful experience. Nothing can replace the warm touch of a mother’s hand on your shoulder as you deal with the daily needs of life. This book tries to do the next best thing – provide a substitute for your Mom standing next to you lovingly helping you prepare excellent, nutritious Indian meals for every occasion.