Rude Food is a collection of writings on food and drinks around the world, written by Vir Sanghvi who is a popular Indian journalist and a leading television anchor. The book deals with a variety of food stuffs and drinks that the author came across during his travels. He writes about real Chinese food, invention of Chicken Manchurian, love for chocolate bars, mouth-watering kakori kababs, texture of bhelpuri, mythology of tandoori chicken, idli-dosa trail, Goan food and McDonald’s. He also mentions about popularity of vanilla, mushrooming flavours, bread and butter pudding, desserts for adults, myths of pasta, universal charm of omelettes, hot dogs, golden rules of sandwich-making, mashed potato, and quality sausages. He talks about different kinds of wines and vanilla vodka. He also deals with various issues like how to handle rude waiters and airline foods being bad.
The author describes about the real Chinese food in Shanghai. He comes out with interesting facts like rice being not an integral part there and residents of Shanghai will eat anything that crawls, walks or flies. He recollects an incident when a shopkeeper tried to sell him an enormous snake with its tail stuffed into its mouth, rolled up inside a jar. Next is Bangkok where, according to the author, one can get the best fast food in the world-the Thai street food. The discovery of Sichuan cooking by Camellia Panjabi and invention of Chicken Manchurian by Nelson Wang is being traced. Then is a description of the durian- an ugly, disgusting-smelling fruit that tastes like heaven!
Bhelpuri has been discussed with respect to its texture and ingredients right from Bombay to Gujarat. A piece entitled-‘tipsy-turvy on the pm’s plane’ explains what happens when journalists get to travel with the prime minister. Another piece entitled ‘too exotic for good taste?’ mentions those places in the world where people like eating parts of the animals that most of the Indians will never touch. It includes stewed Pig’s Entrails, Fish Lips, Duck’s Feet, and deep fried insects like grasshoppers, locusts, yellow creepy-crawly bugs and cockroaches. A funny incident is mentioned in this piece wherein the author is invited to try out a local delicacy at Guyana on the South American mainland, which turns out to be a large rodent. The piece ‘who’s serving the who’s who’ tells about different celebrities like Bachchans and Ambanis and their most sought after restaurants.
The book tells about the Bombay restaurants the author grew up in which are Bombelli’s, Shetty’s, The Wilson Restaurant and Kwality’s. It also talks about Bombay Taj and Golden Dragon. In between, many simple recipes are jotted down that can be tried out at homes. Some of them are mashed potato recipe, Chicken Tikka sandwich, bread-and-butter pudding, scrambled eggs with salmon, cheeseless mushroom risotto etc.
Right from describing the origins and history behind the inventions of some popular food items, the writer has narrated about notable restaurants and chefs. The book ensures that the reader is engaged in reading till the end. You can start from whichever chapter you want. The author himself appeals to the readers in ‘a fragment of autobiography’ with the lines ‘Dip into it as you wish; read what you like first; pick any order that makes sense to you.’ So the book is an excellent read for all the foodies. And if you are a non-foodie, you may develop second thoughts after reading this incredibly cool and informative book on food and drinks.