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Harmony through food: Pakistan-India cookbook wins at Gourmand Awards 2015

Harmony through food: Pakistan-India cookbook wins at Gourmand Awards 2015

If there is one thing that brings all of us together, it’s food— and this was proven at the 2015 Gourmand Awards when a Pakistani-Indian cookbook Zaiqay Frontier Kay— Dera Ismail Khan Kay Bulay Bisray Pakwan won the World Cookbook award in 'Cookbook For Peace: India-Pakistan' category.

Held at Yantai, the food capital of Shandong province in China, the annual award ceremony was attended by the son, grandaughter and other family members of the late author, Pushpa Kumari Bagai. Kiran Aman, CEO of Markings, which has published the book, was also present at the ceremony which was held from June 8 to June 9.

The book, which is a collection of Pushpa’s recipes dating back to the times when Hindus and Muslims lived together in Dera Ismail Khan, is a step to preserve the cuisine. It has also been translated into English as Flavours of the Frontier— Forgotten Recipes from Dera Ismail Khan.

The Gourmand Cookbook awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau to honour those who ‘cook with words’ and are now considered the Oscars of the cookbook awards by international journalists.

Speaking about the book’s recognition internationally, Aman said: "This cookbook is no way a mere collection of recipes but rather a tribute to the shared cultural heritage of Pakistan and India, a forgotten history and is in essence an emblem of peace. It has been recognized by the prestigious Gourmand Awards body as significant a cross-border collaboration, an initiative that proves that disparate nations, cultures and peoples can connect with each other through unifying commonalities such as through cuisine. We are delighted to be representing Pakistan on the global stage once again; this time promoting the message of cultural harmony and peace through food.”

The author’s son, Atul Bagai, also shared his views about the joint effort to make his mother’s treasured recipes accessible to all: “It is a tremendous honour to have my mother’s work so widely recognised by the international community. Cooking was a passion that ran through the veins of my mother Pushpa and a skill that she passed down through generations as a treasured family heirloom.”

“The cookbook is a tribute to her skill and tenacity as a culinary expert and aptly represents the culture and rich heritage of Dera Ismail Khan through the form of gourmet cuisine. Having this book published in the country where my mother belonged to and to see it garner the praise it has achieved is a phenomenal feeling for all her children,” he added.

Last year at the same awards Markings also won in the category ‘Best Pastry Sweets Cookbook’ for Deliciously Yours by Lal Majid.

Also nominated for three other categories namely, Best Vegetarian Cookbook, Best Culinary History Cookbook and Best Local Cuisine Cookbook, has around 80 recipes, Zaiqay Frontier Kay is priced at Rs1500.

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