Vikas Khanna comes out with new storybook for kids

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New delhi, November 15: Watching his mother facing the perennial problem of trying to make his little niece drink a glass of milk gave celebrated chef Vikas Khanna the idea for his new book.

"The Milk Moustache", an illustrated book for children on friendship published by Puffin Books India, was launched here yesterday.

The book is like a cycle of nature that nurtures us and helps us grow, the award winning Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur and filmmaker says.

He got the idea of his illustrated "book of gratitude and love" after "a simple incident of watching my mother trying to make my little niece Saumya drink a glass of milk".

"It was truly sacred as mom was telling her story and then adding little flavours to the milk. I then thought of writing a book on the cycle of the milk, from a cow's perspective," Khanna said.

For him, writing a book for children is "a great way to connect" with the younger minds.

"It is absolutely pure and creative. They are our nation's new artists, dreamers and guardians. It helps them to think much further, one book at a time," he says.

In 2013, Khanna wrote "Young Chefs", last year he penned "The Magical Rolling Pin" and this year he also wrote "The Magic Rolling Pin" for children.

Asked for his suggestions to mothers, who face great difficulty in making their children drink milk, he says, "I think finding flavours which are kids' favourites is the key, I have personally discovered. Sometimes even changing the form of milk to a custard, panna cottas helps." 

In "The Milk Moustache", when the children of a village refuse to drink milk one day, it makes Kali the cow very sad.

And it is up to Jassi, the local milkman's daughter and Kali's best friend, to find a way to end the milk strike and lift Kali's spirits again.

Khanna says he has eaten some of the best dishes at Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar's house and would love to include them in his upcoming books.

His next book is called "My First Kitchen", a step by step help guide with recipes.

"It is a simple and bold kitchen diary," he says.

He, however, says he doesn't have any plan to write fiction for adults.

"Between the commitment of cookbooks and Junoon (the Indian food restaurant), I have not thought of it, yet."

He also does not have any immediate plans of starting his own chain, saying, "Nothing as of now. Junoon New York is my little temple that is my kitchen." 

Khanna's recipes reflect the many memories that have influenced his cooking - from his grandmother's simple traditional dishes to the eye-opening experience of living in New York where he learned to adapt the centuries-old traditions of Indian cooking to the wonders of the city's ethnic diversity.

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