Many of our memories revolve around food. Family meals, meeting friends, midnight hostel parties. The food is incidental; it is the peg on which the memory hangs. The COVID-19 pandemic brought such memory-making to a screeching halt. But it propelled people toward food, prompting Indian cookbook author Archana Pidathala to ponder a more fundamental issue: Why cook?
The result is her book "Why Cook" (without the interrogative punctuation -- an aspect that has driven grammar sticklers bonkers). "There's a reason there is no question mark," Pidathala told me. "It was a conscious choice to drop it because I don't think I was seeking answers. It was more like tender meditations. Sometimes we want to ask questions and they don't necessarily lead to an answer. This was something I wanted to mull over rather than find concrete answers."