KARACHI: Everybody has a favourite dish and the favourite person to prepare it as not everyone can quite prepare it the way that person does. And in the case of the cook book, Food Tales — And Anecdotal Journey of Recipes, that go-to person to make that favourite dish happens to be Shanaz Ramzi, the book’s author.

“I am not a trained chef. I have no degrees or diplomas in cooking. But I enjoy my cooking as my husband and children appreciate it. Hence they are not mere recipes but shared memories along with valuable tips,” said Shanaz at the launch of the book here on Saturday evening.

It’s been a true labour of love for her as she would note down a recipe for anything that she tasted and liked anywhere on scraps of paper before trying them in her kitchen. In her book, she has some 120 authentic and traditional recipes. Many of these are her own but many are also those that she got from someone else but she has made sure to give credit where due and acknowledged all from whom she got the recipes. “Now I am sharing these recipes with others like me who love to cook,” she said.

Many of the people who shared a recipe with the author were pleasantly surprised to find mention in the book. There was Mrs Zahid Khan, who had shared her special fruit chaat and shahi tukrray recipe with her but had completely forgotten about it. Same was the case with Mrs Seemi, who had taught the author how she made Russian salad, and so many others present at the launch.

“Most people, when sharing, don’t part with the exact, step-by-step recipes. But its not like that in this book. I have shared everything I know,” she smiled.

The book was put together in record time, which was not as easy as the writer had thought when starting out initially. “I had all my recipes written down already but for the book I had to give the exact measurements, etc. Then each recipe when done also needed to be photographed. So for seven weeks I did 20 dishes every weekend making 10 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday before sending them off to the publisher for the photo shoots,” she said, while thanking her cook Bilal, who would be up early to help her with all the chopping and cutting.

Arif Bahalim of Kaatib Publishers, who published the book, said that his wife and children also discovered several new dishes and easy to follow recipes through the book. “Our menu at home has also increased now, thanks to Shanaz,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2021

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