An American Who Understands Tamil Culture

Posted On: November 22, 2010

Can someone from the US understand Tamil culture? 

Padmini NatarajanIt gives me great pleasure to say that Jennifer has given a detailed and comprehensive review of “Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine” that I have co-authored with Viji Varadarajan. She has taken time and detailed analysis to write about our book. It is interesting to see how a person, not from the same cultural milieu, can use the recipes with ease. It is truly a validation of our aim to make Tamil Brahmin Cuisine a easy and convenient cookery routine to follow. She has also made us think about some of the methods that are not easily understood by users unfamiliar with the processes. We will take her suggestions and incorporate them in future editions.
Thank you Jennifer for your meaningful and value adding inputs of our book.
With regards,
– Padmini Natarajan

Thank you, Padmini for your kind and thoughtful words. Feel free to read more of her thoughts at her blog, Padmum’s Pen, and through her editing and cultural tips throughout the wonderful cookbook, Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Below I share my appreciation to Viji for writing her wonderful books and her guidance in learning Tamil cookery.


In this giving gratitude video, I thank Viji for ‘going out on a limb’ and offering Tambram cookbooks to everyone across the world so we can learn more deeply about the culture. I also thank her editor and cheerleader, Padmini Natarajan for her encouragement. None of this would be possible without her, too!! The international publication of these books (and some into French and Japanese) will open up people’s understanding of Indian cuisine past the typical ‘pan Indian’ or ‘continental Indian’ offerings I have at least seen in American restaurants. These recipes represent a slice of a wide variety of vegetarian options and a very regional and specified taste palate found in Tamil Nadu, a south eastern state in India.

This video is not only to thank Viji and Padmini for their amazing and ongoing efforts to promote cross cultural understanding through food, but also to share a tutorial on a Westerner’s approach and ongoing learning of a unique slice of Indian culture, language, and cuisine.

Jennifer Kumar is a US Citizen who has lived in India for over 10 years two different times. She understands some cultural and language differences between the countries. She coaches those who work and travel between the two countries to help them adjust to the cultural differences with more ease. Contact her here

Thank you again to Viji and Padmini!

Other cross-cultural related posts: 
Pongal: A Tamil Festival 
Eating With Hands in the US With Colleagues – Yes or No?
Role of Potluck Parties in the NRI and Expat Culture



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