SHAAKAPAAKAM: Vegetarian Food of Telugu (Andhra) Draavida Community of South India - Culinary, Nutritional, Medicinal and Cultural Aspects

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Editor(s):
Meenakshi Ganti
Volume(s):
1
Published:
2021
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The purpose of this book is to present the traditional vegetarian recipes of a specific region in the vast Indian subcontinent and thereby illustrate a part of this vast diversity by focusing on the traditional vegetarian cooking practiced in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India. There are variations even within this region and the presentation here pertains to a specific region in Northern Andhra Pradesh where our ancestors lived for several centuries. The 2009 Edition of this book included information limited to the culinary uses of the vegetables and herbs. The second edition is motivated by the current Pandemic situation to include health and nutritional aspects as the 2009 edition carried only scanty passing remarks on them and some traditional vegetables and herbs that are not common in modern markets were left out. In this edition such items are added to the inventory of food sources and materials. The author effort has been to capture, as far as she could recall and gather from our indigenous knowledge, some information on the preventive and curative potentials, and cultural significance of our food materials, which has been overshadowed by modern life styles.

This seems to be an ingenious way in which our ancestors integrated food and medicine to ensure regular intake of substances of medicinal value in a pleasant setting of taste and flavor. Food has natural ingredients of medicinal and nutritional value present in our diet through vegetables and spices, they are integrated in food and there is no room for any unpleasantness or negative thoughts; actually their medicinal and immunity boosting actions on our body will be synergetic. It is relevant in this context to note that Ayurveda underlines the connection between medicine and food as follows:

If diet is wrong, medicine is of no use

If diet is right, medicine is of no need.

In view of the above, I made an effort to present some information on materials outlining their nutritional and medicinal values in this edition.

The inclusion of the additional medicinal information in this edition is neither for commercial promotion of any product nor is it my prescription for any treatment; it is to humbly present the health aspects of our indigenous culinary culture.

Meenakshi Ganti was born in Lingalavalasa, a little village about 30 km from Vizianagaram, in Andhra Pradesh, India on 23 June 1950. She was brought up in Madhya Pradesh. She married Ganti Prasada Rao who served IIT Kharagpur for nearly 30 years as a Professor of Electrical Engineering until 1997. She also lived in Coimbatore in the early 1970s. As a housewife, she has been devoted to serve and raise a large combined family. The Gantis visited England with their children during 1975-76 where Meenakshi worked briefly for Salford Electrical Instruments Co, an affiliate of the General Electric Co in their quality assurance division. They visited Germany during 1982-83 where Meenakshi took German language courses at the Ruhr University Bochum. Over the last ten years she has been traveling widely with her husband visiting several countries, some more than once: Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, China (Peoples Republic of), Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, United States of America, etc. She has seen the culinary cultures of many countries in the course of her travels and hosted dinners abroad for foreign guests with her native vegetarian preparations. Meenakshi came to Abu Dhabi in 1992 with her husband, who until 1997 was Technical Advisor to the Water and Electricity Department, Government Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur until 1997 and presently a member of the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee, which is responsible for the development of the world’s largest encyclopedia- the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which was released online (www.eolss.net) officially by the UNESCO at the World summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002 and has now grown immensely since then. The Gantis have two daughters and a son and three grand children through the former

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