with Sri Bodanapu
For so many of you who listen to this podcast, recipes are among your family’s greatest treasures. You cherish these recipes because they connect you to your ancestors and the sacrifices they made, to your homeland and its beauty that cannot quite be matched, and your family’s resilience through change, struggle, often even tragedy.
Sri Bodanapu loves her grandmother’s recipes for all this - and for the fact, of course, that they are delicious; the best food she’s ever eaten. When her uncle challenged her to transform the hundred page Word document that sat on his computer and her family’s inboxes into a real, bona fide, honest to goodness, hardback cookbook, she began a journey to creating a one-of-a-kind business that checks all the boxes for our needs.
Sri’s company, Heirloom Project, offers two paths to creating cookbooks that are professional, elevated, beautifully-designed, and made of the highest quality materials - all while remaining amazingly affordable. As she says, belongs on a shelf (or on your coffee table) besides the greatest cookbook authors out there.
There is no minimum OR maximum on the number of contributors that can collaborate on each book and the copies you can print. So you can use Heirloom to crowdsource a cookbook from your extended family, your church, or civic group. If you have a marketing channel, you can create a cookbook to sell.
In this episode, Sri shares with us all the tips and tricks to make her grandmother’s Lamb Biryani and the story of becoming the woman who was both motivated and equipped to begin this remarkable business. One note - this is a sponsored episode, but only because I believe completely in Sri’s mission, the quality of her books, and that this service is exactly what many of us have been looking for. Congratulations to Sri for creating something we all need - and thank you, reader, so, so much for being here.
- What makes a biryani?
- Tips to cooking a perfect biryani
- Basmati vs. Jasmine rice & how to cook
- A biryani leaf!!! - did you know it existed?
- The critical "dum" - sealing the biryani pot with roti (and what to substitute in the U.S.)
- how to control the spice - start with the lamb and adjust from there instead of cooking all at once
- Biryani as a Persian dish and Sri's home city of Hajerbad
- Sri's grandmother, who developed this biryani recipe
- Memories of chopping the vegetables with
- Sous chefs for families & the huge job of daily cooking for large families: Support systems in India
- "Cooking is so simplified in the US" vs. in India
- Culture, agriculture, and markets in Sri's city
- Sri's career trajectory and when she turned to a career in food
- The breadth of Sri's experience in the food industry
- Food career not being taken seriously
- Expectations on Indian women: changes over generations
- When Sri chose to write a family cookbook - and how it related to the birth of her first son
- Her uncle's massive word document of all her grandmother's recipes
- Sri's process of writing a cookbook: 25 recipes in 31 days
Heirloom Project and Custom Family Cookbooks
- Creating an "aspirational" cookbook - one that will make your children proud of their heritage
- The importance of aesthetics and high quality materials in showing respect
- Telling the stories of immigrants and refugees not only for families but for the rest of us as well
- Recipes = resilience
- Cookbook design process: self-design vs. Full Service
- Heirloom's ideal client
- The incredible (exciting!) affordability of Sri's cookbooks
- How to write a cookbook with multiple contributors
Sri's Storied Recipe: Lamb Biryani
A world famous Biryani made from layers of seasoned rice, succulent marinated lamb, and caramelized onions.
How To Contact Sri and Heirloom Project