Going Loco for Local: Desi food poetry that will make you salivate

It may be easy to wax lyrical about superstars like biryani and nihari, but how does one make daal maash alluring?
Updated 20 Oct, 2023

There’s no denying the absolute supremacy of Pakistani food but how does one pay an ode to the cuisine beyond using words like divine and incomparable? Simple, you borrow a few verses from Noor Ali’s “desi food poetry”.

Markings Publishing, whose Choti Choti Khushiyan has brought me a lot of joy already, has come out with a new book, One Teaspoon of Home, with words by Ali and illustrations by Umme Aimen Kazmi of Quirky Kahaniyan.

What’s striking about the poetry is that it’s not just about layering on thick flattery for your beloved; it talks about how the food makes you feel, the ways in which it evokes memories, where it comes from and even its anatomical effect (fart-inducing chaat masala, for example).

Now, it may be easy to wax lyrical about superstars like biryani and nihari, but how does one make daal maash alluring?

“Like a sunflower, you promise an awakening.

A direction to us wayward souls.

You are lentil, yet your glories are glorious,

And your promise of deliverance true.“

That’s how.

I can’t write down all other poems here or describe them but if you consider the above an indication enough, then trust me when I say this book is rich in material for dramatic readings. For further proof, check the video below by some of Dawn.com’s editors (also proof that we do occasionally take time out to have fun).

The pages with the poetry would not be as fun to flip through without the colourful illustrations that not only do justice to the food but also capture the mood around it, through the backgrounds, the cutlery, and other attention to details.

The book would make for an ideal gift, especially for those with a strong affinity for local food but it won’t be a cheap present with a price tag of Rs2,000.

Disclaimer: Reading the poetry may quite likely lead to cravings.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Going Loco For Local