Sunday, 8 July 2018

#BookReview: Spirits In A Spice Jar by Sarina Kamini

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Title : Spirits In A Spice Jar
Author: Sarina Kamini
Publisher : Westland Ltd
Published on: 29th May 2018
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-9386850195

"Dhania that contains the seed of who I am: the soft and citric taste of my own self -determination."


For Sarina Kamini’s Kashmiri family, food is love, love is faith, and faith is family. It’s cause for total emotional devastation when, ten years after her Australian mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, unaddressed grief turns the spice of this young food writer’s heritage to ash and her prayers to poison. At her lowest ebb, Sarina’s dead Ammi’s typed-up cooking notes become a recipe for healing, her progress in the kitchen marked by her movement through bitterness, grief and loneliness—the daal that is too fiery and lumpen; her play with salt that pricks and burns. In teaching herself how to personalise tradition and spirituality through spice, Sarina creates space to reconsider her relationship with Hinduism and God in a way that allows room for questions. She learns forgiveness of herself for being different, and comes to accept that family means change and challenge as much as acceptance and love.


The cover page of the book Spirits In A Spice Jar is very beautifu; in dark shades of blue having image of spices and a rosary. It is very apt with the content the book holds. It is a lovely cover with a very nice texture. I liked it a lot. 


Food is the basic necessity of each one of us, and when it comes to reading about food, I cannot stop myself. Spirits In A Spice Jar by Sarina Kamini is a beautiful and one of the finest books that I've read in the year 2018. This book has already made space in my favourites list. When I got this book in my hand, I just got busy in looking at the lovely cover page. The title made me think a lot. I thought that it might be a cookbook but it is not, it is something very precious and beautiful.

Spirits In A Spice Jar is an overwhelming personal account of author Sarina Kamini, after her mother was diagnosed with Parkison's disease and she was not able to come in terms with it  and how her Ammi's typed up cooking notes become a recipe for healing. In the book, author has written about her journey of healing, how each spice and ingredient holds a memory in her life. 

The book is written in a beautiful manner divided into seventeen chapters with each chapter talking about a new ingredient and the memories that ingredient holds in her life. She wants to get that Kashmiri touch in her food the one that her Ammi used to cook and she struggles a lot. The book is written in a lucid manner that anyone reading it will get attached to it. To be honest, this book was an emotional ride for me, a heartwarming read and I felt it really close to me. I loved how the author has mentioned a bit about each spice or food before starting of the chapter.

As the book is author's personal account so it was more about her anxieties, problems and complexities she faced. So, the other characters were not so evolved like Scott, author's husband who tried a lot to help her cope with her anxieties. The book covers a lot of diverse themes from food to mental health problems, faith  and also the most important relationship of the parent and child. I really liked the bond author shares with her children, Cailean and Ashok. 

Author has shared quite a lot of Kashmiri recipes in the book and I tried some of them and they are really tasty. Overall, this book made me think a lot of various aspects of life. I really had a nice time reading this overwhelming book. 

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Buy the book here:


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Sarina Kamini is an Anglo Indian author now living in a pocket of paradise in small town Western Australia. A former food writer, food editor and food critic, she has spent twenty years working in Paris, California, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Melbourne. Sarina can be found among the trees with her husband, her two sons and her dog, DJ Chips.

* I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Westland Ltd) in exchange of a review. Thank You. 

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