Savouring Goa’s time-traveling tastes and decoding culinary mysteries with Odette Mascarenhas
Odette Mascarenhas, a luminary in the culinary world, stands as a testament to the fusion of passion and expertise. With an impressive repertoire of 12 books under her belt, Odette’s literary journey encompasses a biography, children’s series, travel guide, recipe book, and a profound historical documentation of Culinary Goa. Her accolades, including a Special Jury Award through Gourmand for the biography of India’s first Executive Chef, Masci, underscore her commitment to preserving and sharing the gastronomic heritage of her homeland. As a distinguished food celebrity and TV host, Odette’s influence extends beyond the pages of her books. Her engaging column in the Times of India, where she shares insightful food reviews, further cements her status as a tastemaker. Notably, as the COO of OnM Creative Consultants, a management consultancy based in Goa, Odette seamlessly combines her love for culinary exploration with strategic business acumen. In her latest work, The Culinary Odyssey of Goa, Odette’s seven years of meticulous research delve into the roots of traditional recipes, offering readers a captivating journey through time and flavours.
The book reveals the roots of traditional recipes, drawing intriguing parallels between regional cuisines. From the fascinating folles to the tantalising gatti and patoli, Odette explores the origins of these delectable delights, revealing surprising similarities with dishes from Mangalore and Udupi. The culinary conundrum spurred her seven year research, delving into the evolution of recipes across generations and communities. Odette’s curiosity extends beyond flavours! She connects cultural dots from a museum in Greece to the Portuguese-styled homes in Goa, highlighting shared elements like grinding stones and carved lions. Her book transcends historical references, offering a mosaic of past fragments, stories, and reflections, emphasising the role of spiritual beliefs in shaping kitchen traditions.
As Odette questions the impact of migration on family recipes, she immerses herself in diverse communities across Pernem, Ponda, Sattari, Bardez, Dharbandora, Quepem, Salcette, Canacona, Divar, and St Estavam. The exploration extends to Udupi and Mangalore, unpacking intriguing parallels in lime pickles and desserts. In this 250-page culinary exploration, Odette weaves together stories, poems, and recipes, shedding light on the intricate composition of Goa’s gastronomic heritage. Join her as she unearths the secrets behind our grandmothers’ cherished recipes, inviting readers on a captivating journey through time and flavors. The Culinary Odyssey of Goa not only unveils the evolution of iconic dishes like the hooman, kadi, and kodi, but also raises thought-provoking questions about the influence of different kitchens, changing lifestyles, and the possible impact of migration over the centuries. Odette’s meticulous research involves meeting people from various communities, spanning geographical locations, and scrutinising the subtle variations that make each kitchen unique. Venturing beyond Goan borders, Odette’s exploration encompasses Udupi and Mangalore, revealing fascinating connections between nimbuye adgai and lime pickles, as well as the uncanny resemblance between doce de grao and alva de grao. Through her keen observations and engaging storytelling, Odette invites readers to ponder the intersection of history, migration, and the culinary traditions that shape our kitchens today.
A comprehensive culinary tome, The Culinary Odyssey of Goa serves not only as a window into the past but also as an affirmation to the rich and diverse flavors that have stood the test of time. Read more about Odette’s immersive journey, where every page is a step deeper into the heart of Goa’s culinary heritage.