[ by erik uzureau ]
Avant-garde, polyglot, american-born chef Ankur Shah establishes an expat “alternative” commune on an island in Bahia, cultural and spiritual heart of Brasil.
Over the course of six months, the hostel “O Bigode” (Portuguese for “the moustache”) became home to a collection of painters, fire-dancers, woodcutters, computer programmers, writers, coctaileros, videographers, and a few shamans-in-training flown and bussed in from throughout the Americas and Europe.
Shah’s weekend restaurant provided unity and direction in the form of coconut polentas, zucchini steak sandwiches, mango salsas, carrot mayonaise, and magical veggie-burgers (to name just a few).
Having survived the Amazon, $1 bottles of cachaça, and a town full of bewildered bahian carnivores, Shah takes to penning his memoirs and recipes somewhere high above the Atlantic Ocean en route to India for his next experiment.
The result is “Cooking Com Bigode“, a hundred-odd pages of intrigue, wisdom, and fabulous recipes straight from the helmsman of the bigode crew. A modern Kerouac of sorts, Shah’s “On the Kitchen”, with grassroots editions published independently in India and New York, bends the traditional recipe book into a deliciously tangential, intensely personal work which will have you smiling and laughing your way from rice and beans to passionfruit hummous and back again.
A wonderful first-effort from internationally-visad, Stanford-educated Shah, “Cooking Com Bigode” is a treatise on holistic, mostly-vegetarian cooking set in the context of a modern day summer of love in tropical Brasil.