Blogger Interview Series Part 5 – Sharmistha

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Sharmistha is one of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers in the blogging arena. Sharmistha is an engineer by profession and of coursehas a lot to do to maintain her career and personal life. She started writing a cookery blog to keep track of all the lovely recipes she prepares at home. Today we bring to you the other side of Sharmistha, the lady behind Cook-a-doodle-do.

To know more about the authors of the other Top 7 Bengali food blogs, click on the links below:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook
  3. Indrani of Appayan
  4. Sharmila of Kichukhon

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially I started a food blog to keep track of the various recipes I follow. Gradually I realized I enjoyed the process of sharing recipes, exchanging ideas, participating in the various events. The whole process of cooking, photographing the process and receiving feedback from people I have never met was/is really exciting…though I am off blogging for the past month or so, I know I’ll be back sooon….

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

My Mom has been my guru in cooking….though when I actually started cooking, I have been away from home. So it’s been more of telephonic tutorials and instructions that I had to be content with. I call myself a reluctant cook…my love for good food is stronger than my lack of passion for cooking! 😉

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

My husband Saptarsi. Not only is he extremely supportive and encouraging, he tolerates his hunger pangs and humours me and indulges me while I go click, click click…..

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

First dish I prepared?…mmmm…..I guess it was a cake I’d baked. During the long break before joining college and after Higher Secondary exam . Of course Maggi, Omelette and tea were stuff I could do a couple of years prior to that!!

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

There are many more I really enjoy reading….but since I have been asked to name three, I am reluctantly restricting myself!

How many cook books do you have?

5-6 I guess….i’m not good at following instructions to the T. And hence dont use them too often

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I normally jot down ingredients and procedure from my Mom and use them later.And whenever I eat something delicious at friends & relatives’ places, I ask them for the recipes (or ingredients/procedure) and try them out myself

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

I have a blogpost on that……http://cookadoodledo.blogspot.com/2009/03/bengali-cuisinea-closer-look.html

What would you eat for your last supper?

Oh dear ….that’s a tough one….my favourite keeps changing all the time.

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

That’s my blogroll copied and pasted and hence not in any preferential sequence

Your fondest food memory?

Oh several…..sitting on the terrace with my sister and eating kawth bel makha/kaancha aam/tetuler achaar.….

The suspense while opening my tiffin box during school days….to find out what ma had packed for my lunch box

Sunday afternoon lunch during childhood ….when each item would be a special treat

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My kadai (wok), microwave & blender

What made you call your blog “Cook-a-doodle-do”?

When I was on the verge of starting a cooking blog, much much before I actually started posting, my daughter’s favourite nursery rhyme was Cock-a-doodle-do. At that point of time, whenever I would think of naming my blog, Cook-a-doodle-do would come to mind….then the poem (read it here) came to mind and COOK-A-DOODLE-DO was the name I zeroed as my blog name!!

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

As I said I dont follow any cookbook regularly. And I love the way my Ma cooks….fast and finger licking good.

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview Part #1

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview

Almost 6 months back, we (Sudeshna and Kalyan) came up with a list of Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs. Of course, the list was with our personal experience and didn’t follow any standard procedure for ratings. Soon afterwards, we planned to interview each blogger in an attempt to bring their ‘other side’ to you.

6 of the Top 7 bloggers agreed to an interview and we emailed the same questionnaire to each. Now that we’ve received responses from all six, we’re starting Bengali Food Bloggers Interview series. You’ve known their recipes. Now you can know their personal side too.

The original answers have been tweaked a little to remove the typos etc, keeping the answers identical in spirit. The text is Italics is our own commentary. In Part 1, we’ll feature Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry.

About Jayashree Mandal

Jayashree Mandal started the blog in Oct 2006 with the first post on Alu Posto ar Amer Ambal. However, the posts became frequent and regular only from Nov 2007. With a pagerank of 4, the blog is fairly popular. Samples – Mochar Ghonto, Pomphreter Kalia, Pui Shager Cohorchori. The blog has a good blogroll list too. Also, most of the recent images have copyright notice. Good move to thwart rampant plagiarism on the web. Located in Kolkata, Jayashree also has a personal blog.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

I started my blog on a personal note to keep track of the recipes that I was trying out and making while staying far away from home. This was also a useful engagement for me as I am a stay-at-home mom.

Then of course there were few blogs like Cream Puffs in Venice and Tigers and Strawberries and our very own Mahanandi and Sailu’s Kitchen which are like true leaders to me who has also contributed to the fact of starting this blog.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

I do think it is my ma and ma-in-law who has greatly influenced me or rather inspired me to cook. [Well, a positive Saas Bahu chemistryJ]

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

Support I do think is my ma-in-law as she has always helped me coming up with new recipes as I do think a food blog is all about good ,authentic recipes and food.

My hubby who is always there to taste a dish and give honest opinion about it, before I go ahead and publish it.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

If I can recall perfectly, my ma was quite ill for sometime. So the cooking has to be done by me . Hmm… May be when I was in 11th standard and I prepared simple Khichuri and dim bhaja (omellete)

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

I do think this is very difficult, as there are many good food blogs, I would certainly emphasize to the food and clarity of recipe part, so my list will include:

How many cook books do you have?

I generally don’t try to cook from cookbooks unless I am in a mood to try out something new. I have Veg Khana by Neeta Mehta, Non-Veg starters By Sanjeev Kapoor and last an old Bengali cookbook “Ranna Samagro” by Vincent Gomez and Bela Dey

What’s your favorite cookbook?

Nothing in particular.

Tell us something about food from your part of the world?

I have spent my childhood days in UP and then again I am a Bengali, so I have imbibed everything from both the parts, I like eating as much a Nimona with rice as much ilish macher Bhapa with garam bhaat. [Great variation, lady.]

What would you eat for your last supper?

This is definitely a light dessert like a flavoured yogurt or payesh or a slice of cake with a scoop of ice-cream on top

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

I like to read

And some International Food Blogs like

Your fondest food memory?

There are many interesting food memories, but then the hustle-bustle during Durga Puja and the entire way of spending the time with cooking, eating good food and enjoying with family is perhaps my fondest memory revolving around food and cooking.

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

This I am leaving it, as all are my companions.

What made you to call your blog “Spice and Curry”?

Don’t know, I was just looking to register at blogger and in a jiffy, it splashed and there I was working for my blog.

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often

Think it will be Chingir Macher jhal, Kosha Mangsho and Apple cinnamon Cake

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

Nothing in particular.

Anything you want to add which I missed out.

Just wanted to say, that one should enjoy cooking and serving the people who matter to us the most, instead of cooking things just for the sake of blogging. We are here, food blogging because our family has been cooperative and supportive of whatever we are doing.

I just wish we should not take things for granted. Blogging should be enjoyed and it is a sure way of de-stressing unless we cross the limit and it starts to give stress. Avoiding unnecessary competition and living in harmony is always a way better thing to do.

And last but not the least, it was a pleasure giving this interview. All the Best.

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Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs

Follow Sudeshna on Twitter. Add her as a friend on Facebook . Visit her Flickr photostream.

The most popular website for Bengali recipes is Bengali Recipes on the Web by Sutapa Ray. Started in 1999, the website pre dates all bong recipes sites, and thus, pre dates even the concept of blogging. The list below is a compilation of the most vibrant blogs on Bengali food. These blogs are usually frequently updated and most of them host recipe pictures as well, with the exception of Bangali Meye. We’ve kept Cook like a Bong out of the scope here, for obvious reasons.

The Magnificient sevenImage Courtesy: Flickr

Bookmark these wonderful blogs. Or better still, subscribe them in your reader. Or even better, email us at bengalicuisine AT gmail.com to get the OPML file for the list. It’ll sure make your life easier. Enjoy!

Bengali-Meye-in-US

Bengali-Meye-in-US

A Bengali Girl in US – Blogging since March 2007 under the name Bangali Meye. Content quality of the blog is excellent but you would find images of the delicacies only in the earlier posts. In fact, in her very first post, she declares – this blog will probably not have that many pictures, ki kori, kabo, ranna korbo, na chobi tulbo. Posts regularly (but unfortunately, not as frequently as her fans would like her to) on authentic Bengali recipes. Samples – Mouri Phoron Diye Beet Shager Chorchori, Alu Kopir Dalna, Tomato Kejurer Chatney, Ranga Alur Pantua etc. Very few sites match up to this one in talking about authentic Bengali dishes.

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry – Jayashree Mandal started the blog in Oct 2006 with the first post on Alu Posto ar Amer Ambal. However, the posts became frequent and regular only from Nov 2007. With a pagerank of 4, the blog is fairly popular – whopping 87000+ pageviews since Dec 2008. Samples – Mochar Ghonto, Pomphreter Kalia, Pui Shager Cohorchori. The blog has a good blogroll list too. Also, most of the recent images have copyright notice. Good move to thwart rampant plagiarism on the web. Located in Kolkata, Jayashree also has a personal blog.

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom’s Cookbook – Sandeepa started the blog in Oct 2006 and it became a fairly popular Bengali recipe blog (with a pagerank of 4, what else you can ask for). The site recently shifted to own domain name. The blog has almost 200 traditional and non traditional Bengali recipes. Samples – Posto Murgi, Pui Chingdi, Beet Gajor Chechki.  Like every blog, this one too has seen a couple of lull periods (twice, to be precise). It has a great blogroll too. Sandeepa is available for freelance writing and can be reached at sandeepa.blog@gmail.com (courtesy: her about page).

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon – Sharmila started this blogspot blog in May 2008, roughly the same time as Sudeshna’s bengalicuisine. A thumbnail sized Durga welcomes you to her site, giving that quintessential bong- at-home feel. The blog hosts more than 150 recipes (mostly authentic Bengali, but several non Bengali as well) and is fairly popular (pagerank 3). Samples – Lao Khosa Bhaja, Ilish Macher Patla Jhol, Arisa Pitha. She has dedicated the blog to her dearest Bapi who loves good food. Sharmila also blogs on her travels.

Appayan

Appyayan

Appyayan – Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 100 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She also maintains a recipe index of the blog.

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle do – Started Feb 2009 by Sharmishtha, the blog features around 50 bengali recipes till date. The site has gained popularity very quickly (pagerank 3 in just 4 odd months). Samples – Pabda Macher Patla Jhol, Boiragi Dal, Palong Shak sheddho. Check out her beautiful poem when she started the blog. Well, you wouldn’t find too many food blogs’ about with poem! Sharmishtha also has a personal blog, check it out.

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta – Angshuman Das started this blog during Durga Puja of 2005 (October) and writes on Bengali food for all ye readers, from Paris to Patna, from Tampa to Timbuktu. The blog posts have been infrequent at times, but have continued to amuse readers. The blog mainly features Bengali food, but occasionally, non Bengali Indian food as well. Angshuman was the only Bengali food blogger to be featured in the Telegraph’s story on Indian Food Bloggers. And if you haven’t noticed it yet, Angshuman is the ONLY male blogger featured in this list!

Hope you like the list. If you know any other wonderful Bengali recipe website, please comment here. We @ BengaliCuisine will include the links in the page for Bengali Food Blog Index

Coming soon:

  1. Interview series of the above mentioned bloggers
  2. Rising stars in the Bengali Food Blogging space

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