Lassis of India – who does not love them. We have all grown up drinking them in their various avatars. In fact, even today, if you want a drink with no sugar in it, your best option is Chhaas or Lassi. It works perfectly for the hot Indian weather, with its cooling effect and tangy taste.
When I saw the lovely cover of the book with a tempting and shining brass glass full of Lassi with rose petals delicately sitting on it. How I wish I could pick up that glass and drink it all in one go. I asked for a review copy from the publishers and they happily obliged. Looks they say can be deceptive, even when a book wears them.
I was hoping to read a book on the micro-history of Lassis. I wanted to know everything about it. There was none of it there. It turned out to be a recipe book with 17 odd original recipes and rest are all twisted recipes. It was when I read the sub-title of the book – Smoothies with a Twist that I realized that the author is actually presenting a menu from an upmarket restaurant.
Buy Lassis of India Smoothies With a Twist by Radha Bhatia at Amazon
All the recipes have mostly 4 steps – Put all ingredients in a blender, blend, put them in glasses and garnish. The primary ingredient being curd and then you have a choice of fruits and spices. The author changes the fruit and presents each as a different Lassi. I could see an excel sheet with a thousand recipes of Lassis. Wherever there is a digression, there were major errors. Like Majjige is not made in 5 minutes, but the curd is left with ingredients for it to absorb the flavors. In an exotic recipe to create black garlic, she mentions keeping it in a rice cooker at a certain temperature for 45 days – really? At another place her little note on the recipe mentions tamarind. But her recipe next door has no mention of the same.
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There is hardly any written text in the book & so many mistakes. It was funny when I saw that she had a whole team working on the book. Laughable. Even though she mentions her grandmother a couple of times, we hardly see any of the age-old wisdom associated with Lassi come in the book. There are norms that communities follow as my grandmother would never let us have Lassi at night.
The best part of the book is its brilliant photography. Each page is a master click. I guess that is where the whole focus of the book is. Each image is beautifully composed, colors well chosen, the textures highlighted and equally well edited. If there is one reason you should look at this book, it is for these pictures.
What does not compliment the images is the font of the text – which may be good for captions and designs but is aweful for reading. The color of text and background did not go well on many pages, making it even more difficult to read. Some design error there.
You can spend some time looking at the Lassis of India, but there is nothing much in it to own it.
Take your call.