What’s in your multi-cultural plate?
Louisiana Catch traverses through three distinct places—New Delhi, New York, and New Orleans—revealing the foodie nooks and crannies in each city. The female protagonist in Louisiana Catch, Ahana, is a tea-drinking, pinot-noir-sipping health nut from New Delhi who is also a feminist and a foodie. While Ahana’s favorite Indian food is kebabsand chicken biryaniwith raita, a cucumber yogurt salad garnished with crushed mint; she equally enjoys a Cajun spread of shrimp po’boys, andouille gumbo, shrimp étouffée, jambalaya, and the overall Southern hospitality.Ahana hates to cook and is a specific person. She enjoys her green juice and green smoothies and yoga and running just as much as she appreciates a good French pinot.
The male protagonist in the book, Rohan Brady, is from New Orleans who loves everything food. He loves to purchase the ingredients, experiment with recipes in the kitchen, and host dinners. Cooking is Rohan’s way of showing care. On Ahana’s deceased mom’s birthday, Rohan cooks Ahana a Cajun meal in NYC: blackened catfish, red beans and rice with Andouille sausages, corn in a special sauce, and a big salad. He remembers that Ahana’s mother’s favorite dessert was New Orleans style bread pudding with whiskey sauce. And we see him organize that too. Despite being a NOLA boy, Rohan’s favorite dessert is laddoosfrom New Delhi. They are round dessert made with chickpea flour, sugar, ghee, and nuts.
When Ahana meets with Rohan for the first time in New York City, she gifts him a box of laddoos. With a solemn look in his eyes, Rohan bites into one laddoo, This is heaven. Thank you so much. We find out in the book Rohan’s connection to and familiarity with India.
But the most memroable food scene in the book is when Rohan organizes a special treat for Ahana at an upscale, gourmet restaurant, Mom’s Recipes, in Manhattan. The whole evening is sucha nice geusture. Mom’s Recipes has a fixed, international menu, but you can order ahead of time and ask them to cook homely dishes too. Since the owner is from NOLA, Rohan knows him well. At this dinner, there is a bottle of French pinot noir and good Delhi-style food—paneerand almond kebabs, seekh kebabsmade out of chicken mince, butter chicken, naan—leavened Indian bread, saag, and a green salad inside—all of Ahana’s favorites.
Some of these items remind Ahana of food at her mom’s, especially the saagdish made from mustard greens and spices. In Delhi winters, this was a staple at her parents. Her mother, though not the best cook in the world, made the most delicious seekhkebab, Ahana reminisces.
You might find Ahana and Rohan Brady competing with each other over a long run in Central Park or you might find them brainstorming the latest strategy to promote their upcoming conference NO EXCUSE. Whatever be the case, there is also a sighting or mention of food.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Sweta!
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Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as one of the most influential Asians of our time, is a mindset & wellness coach, speaker, and best-selling author of 12 books whose work has appeared in The New York Times, amongst other publications, across nine countries on three continents. She helps C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, and corporations increase profit and productivity through health and wellness. Winner of the Voices of the Year Award, (past recipients have been Chelsea Clinton and founders of the #MeToo movement), in her spare time, Sweta teaches mindfulness and yoga to empower female survivors of trauma. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives in New York City with her husband.