Rashmi Uday Singh is just back from Latin America and tells us how she ate ant eggs and grasshoppers. Quite an unusual thing to talk about at a vegetarian dining session, you say. The food writer’s life has been anything but ordinary. Having studied literature, law and journalism, Rashmi worked with the prestigious Indian Revenue Service, which she quit after 15 years as Deputy Commissioner to follow her heart. She took to writing food guides, books, travelled across the globe and sampled food from far and wide.
Rashmi says she is not a fanatic when it comes to food but is getting more and more inclined towards vegetarianism. “I am not a vegetarian but I am inclined towards it more than ever now. It is healthy and is the way forward. I am not sure it is healthy to consume meat anymore,” she says, on being asked about virtues of vegetarian food at a special curated dinner at Hamsa in Adyar.
In her latest book, A Vegetarian in Paris Rashmi has shot down all the clichés, eaten her way through Paris and nailed a vegetarian side to it.
On being asked about the fact that many believe that vegetarian food does not provide enough nutrition and energy, she cites an anecdote. “While hosting an event in Mumbai for my book Around the World in 80 Plates: The Gourmet’s Guide to Vegetarian Cui sine , I had invited Hema Malini. The actress is passionate about vegetarianism. So when we asked her if vegetarian food provides requisite nutrition, she stated she is pure vegetarian and can dance for 12 hours at a stretch. She also put forth how the horse, a vegetarian animal was one of the most active animals on planet. So it is just rubbish to say vegetarians lack energy,” she says.
Rashmi was also chosen to be popular international chef Gordon Ramsay’s guide to South India for the show Gordon’s Great Escape. She recalls, “I had earlier taken him to Matunga in Mumbai and he kept grumbling about vegetarian food. Then I explained to him that as per Rigveda, since he consumed too much tamasic food (essentially meat and fermented food), he had a bad temper. We fought over it and then I asked him to go to Isha Foundation in Coimbatore to learn vegetarian cooking. He took the challenge and eventually went on to cook a fantastic meal for me and my discerning friends at the Taj Mumbai. And he aced the test.”