MB Recommends: The Time & Talents Club’s Recipe Book
The Time & Talents Club’s book of recipes, a sturdy hard-bound tome first published in the late 1930s, contains recipes that might make your cholesterol leap just a little. Sample this: four thick fillet steaks, sauteed in oil and butter, each placed atop a slice of fried white bread and dressed with a garlicky tomato concasse, makes for a French dish called Tournedos Nicoise. It’s one of our favourites in this book, not only for its fatty appeal, but also because it’s one of the oldest recipes, contributed by a lady called Gool K. S. Shavaksha, one of the first four members of the charitable club founded in 1935.
Shavaksha has since passed away, but her legacy continues within culinary circles here. Constantly chided by their mothers to do something constructive with their time, Shavaksha and three of her friends set up The Time & Talents Club with the intention to raise money for the underprivileged. The recipe book started out as a pamphlet with inputs from the founding members, and grew to be this exhaustive compilation of detailed recipes collated from friends, family, and acquaintances in India and across the world. The recipes, which have the names of the contributors printed alongside, range from the simple such as cheese toast, parathas and dals, to the more elaborate like foie gras rolls, salmon samosas and stewed frog legs.
We’ve had some our most rewarding kitchen moments courtesy of this book, rightly hailed as a “culinary bible” by the club’s members including its current president Feroza Patel. The recipe committee (it’s one of several set up by the club; others include those involved with medical, educational and social relief, and one that organises fund-raising music concerts) stopped adding new recipes to the book a few years ago, but with each new edition—the 11th, printed in 2004, is currently being sold—they tweak measurements wherever required. The book’s enduring appeal lies in the straightforward instructions, timely hints, and practical tips galore on everything from how to freeze meats and veggies to how to rid utensils of stains. For instance, the recipe for pate de foie gras pompadour (on page 88) contains such directions as “unmould and pour the cream over the foie gras until it’s completely covered to look like a lady’s white skirt”.
There’s a staggering range of cuisines in the book, from Parsi to Polynesian, and Sindhi to Iranian. French food has been covered in such depth that the book would have impressed even Julia Child. Sadly, the recipes aren’t dated, but we learned from Feroza Patel that Shavaksha, Amy R. Adenwalla, Bhicoo J. Maneckshaw and Mary C. Jamsetjee were among its first and most prolific contributors (Maneckshaw, now based in Delhi, is the only one of the four ladies still living). We thank them for showing us how to make coffee rum pie (page 194), oxtail stew (page 68), and guava curry (page 140), among many other dishes. Recipes by The Time & Talents Club, Rs550, is available from their office in Apollo Bunder (see listings for address details).Tags: Books, Feroza Patel, MB Recommends, The Time & Talents Club
The Time & Talents Club
LocationChhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg
Next to Gateway of India
Near Anushakti Bhavan
HoursMonday to Friday, from 10am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday closed