|Photo credit: Westland books|
What I liked:
1) Shubra Krishan's style of writing:- Through most of the book she maintains a conversational tone which is reader friendly, witty and confessional at times. The personal anecdotes about the various dishes presented makes the book a breeze to read.
2) Thinner Dinner Secrets: The introduction to the book containing the secrets of eating in and out to stay thin were interesting and easy to follow.The focus being more on eating healthy rather than eating to become thin. The ones I specially liked were the tips on decoding the restaurant menu and the 'insteads'.
3) Coverage: In aproaching dinner possibilities, Shubhra covers a large number of options from rice and dal, to rotis to pizza to pasta to sizzlers. In doing this I feel she appeals to most taste buds and budgets.
What could have been better:
1) Target audience: The book is written for a predominantly North Indian audience it seems. It is full of terms that would be alien to a non Hindi speaker, like chakla belan, haath ka swaad, tori, bathua, rai tadka,sabut masoor. At the very least a glossary explaining the terms would have been helpful.
2)The recipes: The heart of every cook book is the recipes. Thinner Dinner disappoints in this department. Though the recipes seem adequately easy they are vague in areas where more assistance is required. "Boil the pasta in salted water" and "Nicely pre-heated oven" are hardly adequate. Makes me wonder if she really cooked the dishes.The author also switches from Hindi to English in listing the ingredients. Sometimes dhania and sometimes corriander.
3) Photographs: The beauty of a cook book is breathtaking pictures of the recipes. Photographs that make you want to cook and eat these dishes. Thinner dinner has few photographs and less than brilliant ones at that. To add to it, they don't carry a caption with the name of the dish so you are left doing a match the following between recipe and photo.
4) Layout: The book doesn't maintain a standard layout. The ingredients are sometimes listed and sometimes the instructions and ingredients are all put together in a paragraph. There are random yellow little boxes with things like " Feel good idea" and "Bright Idea" which just disappear half way through the book. Also, my biggest complaint is the lack of an index. How am I supposed to find a recipe two days after I first read it?
Verdict: At INR 395 per piece, I say buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil instead.