4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

There are five people in my house and as come meal times it is like feeding the 5000. We eat together almost every night, and if I can drag the teenagers away from their phones, we often have conversations about all sorts of things, including politics. It is the hospitality provided over those shared dinners where long term friendships are formed.

Priya Basil has grown up in a family of food fanatics and she probably thinks that it goes way back past her grandmother. She has provided for years for her family, ensuring that all those that sit at her table struggle to get up after. This greed-gene flew in the face of her mothers aim to get her and her sister to sit and eat politely, as every time temptation loomed, she abandoned all that she had learnt, just to eat. When it comes to her mothers kadhi though, she still experiences pure greed.

Recipes are the original open source … You only need to successfully make a recipe once to feel it is your own. Make it three more times and suddenly it’s a tradition.

The etymological origins of the word hospitality are from ghosti; the word hostility also shares these same roots and Basil traces the history of food being used as a weapon against populations to starve them or force them to migrate against their will. Sadly, we are in a time where hostility seems to be on the rise and places where people once looked after each other have become places of tension.

Thankfully, this is a book that concentrates about the shared pleasures of good conversation and even better food. It is also a call to say rather than being selfish, sharing mealtimes with friends and neighbours will help people belong in that community. We can play a part in reducing the friction that seems to be growing, by becoming a generous and selfless host. A slender volume, full of wisdom and is very much worth reading.

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