Siri Pulipaka : The author of this popular blog Cooking With Siri and one of my absolute favorite bloggers. She is been constantly documenting her recipes for the past 9 years. This is definitely not an easy task unless and until you are truely passionate & focused on what you are doing. From her native Andhra Pradesh’s speciality dishes to homemade pasta & other baked goodies, Siri’s blog is a collection of hundreds of versatile recipes. She has hosted many blogging events that had participants all over the world, her recipes have been published in popular magazines.
I guess in the mid of 2014, I started following her in Instagram and then apart from being just a fangirl of her recipes, I became a fan of her personality too.
There is a popular saying in Tamil “நிரைகுடம் தளும்பாது” (A pot full of water does not spill) Siri is an example of that. It is very rare to spot someone like that nowadays & hence there is always so much to learn from these kinds of people. Her simplicity, her sincere love for food is what inspires me the most.
A talented photographer, avid reader, her hobbies include Zentangling,Typography,Illustrations and various other things. A truely humble person whose work & talent speak more than anything else.
1. We all have certain dishes that rekindle our childhood memories just by reading the name of it even now. What according to you is that one dish that transports you to your childhood days?
My first guru when it comes to cooking is my mother. I know it sounds cliched but truly my childhood is filled with memories of her sifting through the Sunday (Telugu) magazine for recipe section and then asking which of them interested us the most. It was quite a ritual to choose one, try and savor it by lunch time. Then all four of us (I, my sister, mom and dad) would vote on whether we should we make it again and just toss it.
It is no surprise that I dedicated an entire section for my Amma’s recipes on the blog.Every recipe is time tested and easy to prepare. My mother cooks & I photograph is the basic premise for that section. I miss and yearn for those moments very much, now that am living continents away from her. Hopefully we get to collaborate again in near future.
2. When and how did you start experimenting/cooking in the kitchen?
Fact: I am no child prodigy when it comes to cooking. Until the age of 21 all I did was to gorge on my mother’s food. I had very limited inclination to enter the kitchen growing up though new recipes and techniques always fascinated me. Then, I moved to US and everything changed. My love for cooking started out of necessity, out of survival. Over the years, my time in the kitchen has become more than just cooking food.
3. If someone says that they are from AP, the first thing that comes to my mind is Avakkai Pickle & then Gongura. Tell us your favorite memories associated with these two infamous items which (makes us all go crazy ☺)
The very mention of those two transports me to my grandmother’s backyard and the care-free summer holidays we spent as kids. Unlike my mother, my grandmother doesn’t have a great interest in cooking, but she is known for her Mango pickle. As I type this, my mouth is salivating and I want to run to the kitchen for a bite of spicy pickle, hot rice and ghee. Just like raw mangoes, gongura leaves (sorrel) have a very special place in Andhra cuisine. We eat it in many forms – as a chutney, dal, with eggs, pickle etc. Even now, when I see a bunch of sorrel leaves available in Indian stores here in US, my heart skips a beat and I quickly buy a few.
4. When did ‘Cooking with Siri’ happened?
My food blogging journey didn’t start as Cooking With Siri. It was called Siri’s Corner in the initial years and later when things got serious, I relaunched with a new name, layout and focusing on better photographs & approachable recipes. This year in August, I complete 9 years of food blogging. Someone pinch me please!
5. What fascinates you the most about blogging? Is it the recipe we develop or feedback from readers or the photography part or the network of friends we gain through it?
6. I love the way how your instagram feed is full of amazing pictures that showcases your other interests (365 days photography project,typography etc) apart from food. How can you keep doing something new without losing interest?
7. I know you are an avid reader & you love books. Who is your favorite cookbook author? Also is there any food based memoir which you enjoyed reading?
I like Madhur Jaffrey and Mark Bittman. Their recipes are well illustrated and over the past few years, I have tried/blogged many of them. Reading fiction is a favorite past time of mine as it transports me to an unknown world of characters that are not real. I especially like food fiction and my favorite novel is The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. It is a beautifully written story about Lillian and her students, their riveting lives and how they discover cooking with new ingredients along the way.
8. Your fav eatouts in NYC?
The cute little restaurants in Chelsea Market are my absolute favorite. To get lost in the corners of the market and eat as you go is the best feeling ever!
9. Who is your inspiration when it comes to cooking?
My mother. Though her cooking is very conventional, her enthusiasm to cook and feed others is what inspires me the most.
10. Are there any blogs or websites that you religiously follow?
Whenever free, I pop in to check DK’s Chef In You, Nupur’s One Hot Stove etc. Instagram helps me stay in touch with a few of them..
11. Few words about your Vaidehi Ashramam journey and how soul satisfying it was to help the girls out there?
If there is one accomplishment I will tout for the rest of my life, it would be how we, food bloggers came together as a community and helped the little girls at Vaidehi Ashram. It was again my mother who introduced me to the ashram while distributing fruits for my grandfather birthday. Every visit of mine was always filled with hugs, kisses and a lot of chitter-chatter. I miss them a lot and will cherish the time we spent together.
Thank you so much Siri for your time. Keep writing and keep inspiring us!
You can follow Siri in any of the social media accounts given below to get instant updates from her.
Twitter : www.twitter.com/cwsiri
Instagram : www.instagram.com/cwsiri
Her Blog : www.cookingwithsiri.com