Why Mira and I Love Food

I am Mimmy, author of A Scandalous Proposition. I thought you might be wondering why there’s so much food in my book, so let me tell you about it.

I went at food the way I do most things in life—the wrong way. After a childhood spent looking malnourished, I progressed quickly to the other end of the spectrum post-pregnancy. Years of hostel life insured I knew nothing about cooking. But I spent a good part of my professional life as a food critic. I learnt first-hand from some of the top chefs in India and abroad how they get this particular nuance or that particular undertone to a dish. It helped that I have a very keen tongue that finds it easy to puzzle out the spices that went into any dish.

But I still didn’t know how to cook! I used to joke that my son would never quarrel about food with his future wife because he would not want her to cook like me. Then three years ago, I was thrown head-first into the kitchen when my husband and I moved to London. No mother, no mother-in-law, no servant, just us and our growling tummies. You can bet I learnt to cook double-quick! A ladleful of help from the Internet and today, I can actually cook amritsari chhole that would give any self-respecting Punjabi dhaba a good run for its money. I now find I love cooking, especially if I can set my iPod to loud and drown out everything else.

When I got around to writing A Scandalous Proposition, I was willing to let my characters do pretty much as they wanted. I was sure of one thing, though—there had to be a food element in my book. And this is why Mira Talwar, though she’s not a cook, loves cooking. And when she and her family are in dire straits, she takes the ‘food’ route to sustain them financially. And bumps straight into Ranbir Dewan.

Mira is innovative, full of bright ideas and loves to experiment. Often when I thought of her it was in the kitchen, trying out some new twist to a dish that would later have her family drooling over it. So she is able to produce a vada manchurian and a green mango salsa with great elan.

Mira looks down on what she calls firangi food, but she is conscious that a lot of the time, Indian food can be unhealthy. So she hunts for ways in which she can make it healthy and tasty.

When she lands the job of cooking for Dewan Industries’ conference dinner, Mira is so excited that all her personal turmoil gets shoved onto the back burner. She realizes that this is not the right occasion to innovate, but she can’t resist trying out one teeny little experiment—and so she comes up with the idea of topping rabri with whipped cream.

If you want to know more about Mira’s adventures with food and, of course, Ranbir Dewan, go read A Scandalous Proposition. For Mira actually lives the adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

By Mimmy Jain

M M George is the pen name of Mimmy Jain. Mimmy lives in London and edits stuffy academic books and journals when she is not dreaming up frothy romances.

As Mimmy Jain, she has been a mainstream Indian journalist for the last 27 years and has worked in senior positions at publications such as The Economic Times, The Times of India, The Financial Express and Mint.

9 replies on “Why Mira and I Love Food”

M(immy) M George is my maiden name, Mushir. I decided to go back to it when I started writing as a tribute to my parents, who have been absolutely amazing in encouraging me to write, ever since I wrote my first poem at the age of six.

yummm, droool, I love food and everything about it, fresh produce, aromas of frying onion-garlic, finally eating, though eating what someone else has cooked is v appealing n so this element of ur book Mimmy in inifinitely appealing to me….

Mimmy, your post is very interesting. But I do have a confession to make- I was so busy drooling over Ranbir Dewan that I couldn’t give any thought for food 😉

Btw have you tried out vada manchurian and green mango salsa? I am curious now…

Yes to both, Roopa. Vada Manchurian is available at a fairly well-known dosa chain in London. I scoffed at it first, but was hooked on the very first mouthful. And yes, I’ve had the green mango salsa at a New Delhi five-star many years ago — it was amazing.

Thanks, Mimmy. Want to try both. However, I don’t think I will journey to London to try vada manchurian. Will try my luck in Dubai, also known as the Disneyland for foodies. I am sure there is a vada manchurian tucked away in some corner of a food court waiting to be discovered by me or TIme Out Dubai..will keep you posted..

I can so relate to what you are saying Mimmy. I believe that anyone who loves to eat can cook well, especially when thrown in at the deep end like you were. I liked the character Mira too.

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