How Health Food Quest Led To Book, Blog: Shvetha Jaishankar, Nandita Iyer
The #WomenWritersFest in Bengaluru put the focus on the factors of writing what you love, where you heart lies. Do we need a sense of sustainability while food writing to help followers prepare healthy meals on a daily basis? Specialists in the field deliberated on this and also gave their tips on how to be a food blogger and evolve.
Moderated by Ruth Dsouza Prabhu, a freelance writer, the discussion ‘Capture Flavours With Food Writing’ brought together speakers — Nandita Iyer, well known for her blog Saffron Trail, Shvetha Jaishankar, model, author, entrepreneur, and Archana Doshi, Founder of Archana’s Kitchen.
“Why I decided to write a book? Interestingly, I dabbled in different stints in life. After having kids, the thought of putting all those experiences together encouraged me,” Shvetha Jaishankar shared. “When I was a model, people often teased me about my dieting plans. I rather felt peeved about it since all of my friends from modelling industry and I, we were eating well, but smartly. When I was pregnant, I found out that in India the culture here encourages women to eat anything that they crave. But it is also discouraged that you walk out and exercise. The dynamics are changing now on some level, but I was treated as this delicate doll,” she added.
“Suddenly I was clueless about the food I should eat or not eat. And, through that set of experiences came this idea of dispelling some of the myths that are around vanity and why we need to look a certain way. What does a person have to do to look a certain way? Does it involve unnecessary sacrifices or can one find a way to walk that fine line when you’re still eating the food you enjoy? Enjoy cooking or serving, and also look and feel good about yourself? So, through that journey ‘Gorgeous: Eat Well Look Great’ came about,” said Shvetha, while talking about the origin of her book.
“I started my blog because I wanted to document my cooking on a daily-to-daily basis,” said Nandita Iyer. “Eventually, I started enjoying it and all the opportunities started pouring in. In the process of writing the book – ‘The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian’, I learnt social media skills, followed food and beverage campaigns, consultation, gave recipes for brands etc.”
As writers on any medium, how have you evolved your style of writing?
“In my case, because of my background in medicine and nutrition, I thought it’d be best to explore that particular niche. That’s how I have grown cooking. I enjoy sharing what I cook and recommend others to eat,” Nandita shared.
She further said, “Keeping the writing style simple, honest and easy to understand is what I choose to write with a dash of humour. I like sprinkling humour.”
Shvetha said, “For me, the journey is a fine balance between eating that delectable chaat and also looking a certain way which itself is an art. While today having the access to eat any food whenever we want, the distinguished taste senses are uniquely proportional. I wanted to find a way to communicate the importance of eating healthy as well. It should also impress your body and the people you’re sharing it with. So one way I could do that was to make it personal.”
She added, “Today, all kind of recipes are easily and readily accessible on the internet, so my aim was to have a distinguished writing document where I could approach different sorts of people and chronicle their experiences. I think making food writing personal makes it provocative and informative at the same time.”
Writing and dealing with Food fundamentals
Nandita said, “Take any one dish and there’s tons of same recipes available online. So it’s very important for a food blogger to have a unique niche. Audience should relate to and connect with your content.”
Shvetha laid stress on research. For her, it’s important to know your basics and just enjoy whatever you’re cooking.
Being authentic, being real
“There’s a huge sense of responsibility of what you tell people. The number of followers doesn’t matter if the content is honest and real. The duty even comes when you’re writing a sensible piece and refer to the use of plastic. Maintaining healthy writing and eco-friendly sense is very important because the readers look up to your opinions,” Nandita shared.
Shvetha, on the other hand, said, “We should all come to sense a responsibility of how we consume food. Why there’s so much waste? As a food blogger or writer, we should all embrace one step further and try to understand different parameters of food industry. Sustainability and origin of the food we eat everyday — all of us should know the field and agricultural process behind every fruit or vegetable we buy from the supermarket. If possible, stay close to nature and write from an authentic but realistic point of view.”