Look for us on iBooks!- Art of the Thali- Anjali


My group, Art of the Thali showed our product on iAuthor and samples of two of our dishes. We thought it was best to use both digital and edible demonstrations to appeal on a larger range. This also allowed students to page through our cookbook while sampling the recipes (so they knew that the recipes were actually good!) People were always a little bit surprised when we introduced our product, an Indian cookbook is a nontraditional school project, but they all seemed quite intrigued. Our visitors were most impressed that we were going to put our product on iBooks and I was quite surprised to hear that most of them would be willing to pay for access to our cookbook.

Picture of our dosa filled with potato stuffing from our South Indian cooking day.
Picture of our dosa filled with potato stuffing from our South Indian cooking day.

In our original planning phases, we imagined that we’d create a physical cookbook with a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each region of India. We came to realize that that many recipes was really too much to be feasible. It was also pointed out to us that a physical cookbook limited us with distribution costs, so we decided that we’d be best off keeping our cookbook online.

This is a photo taken by Anjali of a roti/chappati cooking over a gas burner
This is a photo taken by Anjali of a roti/chappati cooking over a gas burner

We plan on following through and publishing this book. Many people, particularly Mrs. Dadmehr, are very excited about this cookbook so at this point, it’d be a little disappointing not to upload it to iBooks. I personally don’t plan on pursuing this cookbook much further than that. I’ll likely use some recipes and share it with friends, but I won’t try to grow a publishing business.

If I was given the opportunity to start this project again, I would take the time to teach my peers more about basic cooking skills. Simple terms like dice and saute were confusing to Isha and Oceane, and we could have been more productive during our cooking time if everyone was more comfortable with working in the kitchen and less scared of knives and splattering oil.

I didn’t feel that many of my skills transferred between my engineering projects and Capstone. I felt that they were so different (Isha and I helped plan TT4L, Oceane was with CNI) and our small  cooking group and casual dynamic was very different from the large teams with organized meetings. I suppose interpersonal skills transferred fairly well, but I had already worked with my group members, so those interpersonal skills really weren’t that crucial.

I am now much more comfortable making Indian food. I am half Indian, and I am glad to be more comfortable with Indian spices and cooking techniques. I plan on impressing my future employers and professors with recipes from our lovely cookbook. I am also more comfortable with online programs with iAuthor, which could be a good skill to have if I was ever to make another book. I would give our group a grade of 96. We all worked very well together and took time outside of class to make our cookbook a reality. There were minor changes in our book, the title, the organization and some recipes, but as a whole, we stayed true to our original goal and produced a successful product. I wish that we had been able to have the book ready for sale on the day of the Make-O-Rama, but that wasn’t going to happen with the time that we had left.

I am glad that I took the last semester of senior year to work on such an unorthodox project. I gained a new set of different skills, discerning different lentils labeled in Hindi, cooking at hyper speed to get back to class on time, taking the perfect photo of a finished dish etc. I really enjoyed being able to create something that other people can appreciate and use on a regular basis.

9 thoughts on “Look for us on iBooks!- Art of the Thali- Anjali

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  1. Hi Anjali,

    Though unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to sample your delicious food on the day of Make-o-Rama, I’m sure it was just as delicious as all the extra food you’ve been leaving us at lunchtime for the past few weeks. 🙂 I think it’s probably a good idea that you aren’t starting a cookbook publishing career… but I wanted to show you this guide to making money with an online recipe blog in case you were interested. That might be a good way to continue learning about Indian food, give yourself a fun extracurricular/presence online, and maybe gain some food-fans and make some extra money! It could also be a place to vent about how hard cooking Indian dishes is, or to share tips for shopping or a certain cooking process. I think people will appreciate your unique perspective as a half-Indian, half-American girl who appreciates both cultures’ food and culture.

    Goodbye and thanks for all the umpa!
    Annalise Irby

  2. I am really glad to hear that you will be publishing your cook book. I am very excited to get it, I do wonder if I will be able to because I am an android used and not sure how the processes works of downloading a IBook(hopefully it is the same). Would y’all be able to upload the book to the play store? I found my self in a similar situation were my capstone project and bio-engineering project didn’t have similarity or give me skills that were useful. Overall you all did well in creating delicious foods and maybe these issues can help the senior next year!
    -Angelic Almaraz

  3. I think your group had one of the most original project ideas, and I am glad to hear that so many people were interested in purchasing your iBook! Like your group, my group was also a little too ambitious when planning our project- we thought that we could have the entire trailer wired and automated in less than four months. But- also like my group- you still produced a successful and impressive end product: a creative iBook and tasty sample dishes. I encourage you to publish your iBook and think it would be a great idea to market it to college students, because I know I will want to eat more than just ramen noodles and mac n’ cheese next year. You could reach out to some college food blogs like http://notyouraveragecollegefood.com/, and maybe they would be interested in featuring your iBook! Or you could follow Annalise’s idea and try and market your online recipe book separately. 

    Either way, I’m impressed with the work you all have done this semester. I think it’s cool that you not only improved your cooking skills, but also developed a better relationship with your culture. I didn’t get the chance to sample your dishes, but I’m sure they were delicious!

    Erin Simons

  4. Although I’ve probably tasted Indian a few times in my life, I am very intrigued about the recipes that you chose to include in your Ebook (specifically the picture of dosa filled with potato). I believe that this is a wonderful way to share your culture with others. I may also be interested in purchasing your Ebook if it is not too expensive. When I got to preview your Ebook during class, the colors and the structure was visually pleasing. The manner in which you took pictures of all the steps for making all of the dishes highlight’s your group’s dedication. Although this is quite an unorthodox school project, I believe that our school can benefit greatly since learning about foods from different parts of the world is always interesting. This recipe book may also benefit you and your group members at Port Aransas during the cook-off competition since you will showcase unique foods. This is just an idea since nobody would have to purchase a recipe book since you already created one that others such as your group members can easily follow. I might recommend providing a bit of historical information of the evolution of foods per region. I think this will be interesting to learn about as people are following your recipes. I hope to eat Indian food more often when I am in college.

    -Zabdi Salazar

  5. Anjali,

    I did see a blog post from the beginning of our new semester written by you and was excited to find that you would be making a cookbook (I would have loved to make one!). My knowledge of indian food, especially the traditional dishes from the various regions, is very, very limited. I think that by having a book that teaches you not only how to cook, but about the different regions of India will help people learn that India isn’t just a blob of land. Maybe this idea could be transferred to different countries like Africa or other Asian countries because the world is so diverse and people need to learn that it is. There is a cook book (http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Indian-Regional-Cookbook/dp/0754827232) similar to the idea of yours, but I think the fact that you kept it personal is what ultimately made the difference.
    Toni A

  6. Wow, this is so cool! I remember reading your first blog post about it and reading about how you wanted to integrate different regions of India into the food that you were including. I’m really impressed by how in depth and educational this cookbook is, I think that this product is different and interesting among other cookbooks because it’s written by students and engages the reader in due to the interesting location. What was the most challenging part about iAuthor? Is it similar in any way with working with Microsoft word or Google Docs? A a beginner to iAuthor, actually maybe not even beginner considering that I didn’t even know that it existed, I feel like formatting would be the hardest part about using iAuthor. Again, this is such a great project and I’m really glad you guys put such hard work and dedication into this.

  7. The project that you did seems really interesting. I personally didn’t get to visit the booth, but it looked exciting. I don’t know much about iBooks, but it’s a good concept for sharing information to a lot of people. Nearly everyone in the U.S. has access to the internet, so many people can be introduced to Indian cooking through this book. I think the scope of people who can be exposed to this cook book and in turn Indian culture makes the project incredibly significant. This project has such a different impact than many of the other projects do since it is unorthodox. However, a variety of impacts is important. This website, http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/Indian_Cooking/history_Indian_food_cooking.html, talks about the history of Indian cooking. I’m not sure if you’ve done much research on the history behind the dishes, but this could be a start and maybe something new to incorporate in your final cookbook.
    – Chloe

  8. I can’t believe I missed trying some food at the make-o-rama! I can’t wait to get your cookbook online, Indian food is something I’ve always wanted to try making but never got around to. I’m glad you all had fun with this project and got to do something with meaning for you (even when it didn’t have much to do with biomedical or engineering). I would recommend, however, that you improve some of the pictures before publishing. While I love that they are obviously what the food will look like instead of designed to look awesome but nearly impossible to make in real life, some of your pictures have poor lighting, awkward angling, or excessive background. I’d just hate for the wonderful professional look of your book to be brought down by a few pictures. Great job guys!
    -Jordan R

  9. This was some very iteresting information that you have just shared with me about thai food. Although I am shocked to know that I did not get to make food I was somthing that I did not really know about. It was also interesting reading about the way they cooked certain things.

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