The discovery of a new dish, Brillat Savarin famously said, does more for human happiness that the discovery of a new star... And by that token, Indian cuisine has done much to contribute to human happiness!

One person who wrote authoritatively and knowledgeably on Indian food was K T Achaya (1923-2002). Chemist, food scientist, nutritionist and historian, Achaya worked at (among other places) the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysore. He authored a number of books, many of a technical nature, but what he is well-known for and will be widely remembered for is Indian food, A Historical Companion. In a sensitive obituary published in Current Science, Mahtab Bamji writes"... a classic publication, well researched and illustrated. The kind of book that only an Indian steeped in Indian ethos, love for Indian history from ancient to modern times, eye for details, knowledge about foods, capacity for painstaking search in remote and not-so-remote libraries for documents in different languages and above all, brilliance, can write...."

The Story of our Food is another Achaya classic. Short, but rich in information, its the ideal book to dip into to learn about the origin and evolution of our food. It does not have an entry on chicken tikka masala; one of its strong points. The kind of book one can read and share.

Both in the General section of Scholars. Rs 325 and Rs 150 respectively. Books to make you happy!