‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils’ is a project dear to my heart and will be an important part of ‘My Tamil Kitchen’.
First published in 2003, the cookbook has sold 6000 copies all over the world and is in its 4th print run. It has also been mentioned in an early edition of Lonely Planet’s ‘Sri Lanka’.
This inspiring project was born when (aunty) Nesa Eliezer and her friends in Melbourne needed to raise funds for projects aiding war affected Tamils in Sri Lanka. Nesa aunty approached (aunty) Rani Thangarajah , another member of TEWO (Tamil Eelam Tamil Women’s Association) for a collection of recipes. Rani aunty came up with some 60 truly traditional recipes. Building upon that, the recipes have been collected from friends in Melbourne and Tamil Eelam and Nesa Aunty’s family’s ‘culinary memories’ to make it a fairly comprehensive collection of some 175 recipes!
Nesa aunty says in the introduction: ‘Tamils love their cuisine and wherever they go they relish the memories of it and try as far as possible to inculcate a love for it in their children’.
In the early years, the profits from ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils’, supported Malar Cholai Home and Sencholai Girls’ Home in war saturated northern Sri Lanka.
After the war, when the entire mid north of Sri Lanka was annihilated by the Government, so too were these homes along with hundreds of thousands of lives. Determined to continue to their important work, this Melbourne based group of friends are now support various women’s projects in Eelam as they are approached for help.
For only $25 AUD, this cookbook is the perfect gift to anyone who loves to cook or experiment with food. Importantly it is so valuable to Tamils, as we no longer have a land we can call home and so have to rely on our parents to teach us our traditions and customs.
One of the things you will notice straight away is how such delicious recipes are so easy to make.
I would like to thank Nesa aunty and her friends who are part of this very important project, for giving me permission to post recipes from ‘Recipes of the Jaffna Tamils’ on ‘My Tamil Kitchen’.
To buy a copy, please email either Yoga aunty (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nesa aunty (email@example.com). With christmas around the corner – this is a perfect present for friends and family that love to cook. I have two on order.
This wonderful cookbook is not only a must have in my home, it is an inspiration and a reminder that I must never forget my identity.