The Time and Talents Club Recipe Book

A Dhansak that dates back to the 1930’s

Circa 1965, when Villie Mehta would feverishly cook in the kitchen of the Victory stall at Apollo Bunder, her biggest worry was the dhansak going out of stock. Mehta, now 78, was terrified of a customer turning up only to find the Parsi delicacy missing in the fare.

"Oh, the way they would start catfights in the hotel if that were to happen! ‘Send a golden handshake to the blessed cook,’ one would say. Another would yell that the food was fit to be sent to a hospital," she remembers with a chuckle.

Not that anyone would dare question Mehta’s culinary skill today – she’s editor of the cookbook, Millennium Recipes 2004. Mehta and members of the Time and Talents Club have, in their own way, documented old Parsi cuisines their mothers and mothers-in-law published 1934 onwards, when the club was founded.

Prior to Millennium Recipes, Mehta edited the newest edition of the Classic Recipes, which has around 2000 recipes. "The dishes in Classic Recipes date right back to the 1930s," she says with a hint of pride. "And, mind you, not one has been tampered with."

As she blends mushrooms, cheese, milk and eggs to make mushroom cheese pudding, Pilloo Cooper, Avi Dastoor, Delara Jejeebhoy, Sanober Irani, all members of the Cookery Demonstration and Recipe Book Committee of the club, peer over her shoulders to observe how she goes about it.

You can’t miss how the ladies revere Mehta. She swiftly moves around, giving out instructions about how it’s the cheese that can make or mar the pudding or how baking it in a pan of water leaves a scrumptious crust at the bottom of the serving bowl.

The Time and Talents Club, quite literally, was founded by wives of wealthy Parsis in the city who had free time on their hands — and believed they could do something worthwhile with it. But one cannot write them off as the Page 3 type socialites of yesteryears. These ladies worked hard to involve their community in cultural and charity events.

Cooper, 71, remembers large dinner parties hosted by her mother. "My mother would entertain 1000 guests at a time in our sprawling bungalow. There was no concept of hosting parties at banquet halls then, you see." Perhaps, she feels, that was how the idea of documenting old Parsi recipes may have come up and the first ‘cookbook’ was printed — on a single sheet of paper in 1935.

Mehta opens the recipe book and points out recipes with ingredients that "would make our eyebrows disappear in our hair." Stomach this — dishes that use twelve tablespoons of ghee, and cheese, eggs and flour — all blended together. However, that hasn’t diminished its popularity. Ask any Parsi lady with even remote gastronomical leanings and they know of Mehta’s cookbook.

The new Millennium Book, which has more than 500 recipes, has also been written to suit the leanings of today’s homes towards the health conscious, the minimalist and the I-am-too-busy-to-lay-out-a-fare sort. Soups, breads, curries, salads, meat, beverages, cookies, pastries — you name it and it’s there.

Ask the bustling ladies about who they think will carry on this Parsi tradition, and Mehta seems a tad pensive at first. She shrugs her shoulders to say that their daughters or daughters-in-law don’t really have the time for this. "This club was my calling," she says, looking around at the group that nods in agreement. "Our girls have found theirs in careers and homes."

But Dastoor remains optimistic. "Do you mean to ask whether the club will ever shut down? Well, the answer is no," she smiles and adds with an air of finality: "I am sure someone from our younger lot will want to pick up from where we leave…"

  • Homiyar Bilimoria

    Years ago, we used to go to Time & Talents Club to eat Dhanshaak, which was one of their speciality. After moving to Muscat some 30 years back, during our visits to Mumbai, we used to visit the club to enjoy the food there, besides the lovely environment, overlooking the Apollo Bunder.

    Then during one visit, we were told that the club had to move from this premises and since then we have not been able to find its new location. Is the club still around, serving the same old tasty food?

  • aban r dhondy

    Enjoyed every visit to the club.
    Would like to know where I can get copies of the Millennium Recipes book 2004 or any other T N T cook book you may have for sale.

    My first introduction to the cook book was by Capt. Nari Mehta of Time & Talent club.
    I still enjoy the book.
    Please do let me know how we can contact the club.Would like to bring it back to it’s fame.
    Thank you, hope to hear from you..aban

  • http://mistryenterprisesinc.com Kathleen Mistry

    I would like to buy a copy of the TNT cookery book. Also a copy of the Millenium Recipes book 2004 would be helpful. I am interested in cookery books that are older and offer classical recipes.

    Thanks.

  • Noshir Chinoy

    I would like to purchase a recipe book from TNT club (preferably and older version). I had purchased one in 1980, but when my daughter migrated to Canada I had gifted the same to her, to help her cook traditional parsi cuisine. But now after all these years I really miss this recipe book and therefore, would like to have one to help my wife Jeroo, to decide what to cook everyday.

    Kindly let me know from where it will be available. As requested, I would like an older version.

    Thanks, and hope to hear from you soon, through my e-mail address.
    God bless you all.

  • afaf

    i would like to know where i can get a copy of any of the recipe books. thank you

  • madhuri

    hi ! this is madhuri i m maharashrian newly married girl.I’ve done hotel management i enjoy cooking n my experiments get succeeds I came to know about ur group by discovery channel’s Rhodes across India .I m acctually interested in ur cooking classes but I cant due to my job i request u to send me the basic recipe book or the process to purchase it or the place where i’ll get it or the author’s name nrecipe book name . thank u .reply soon.

  • Robert Potts

    Whilst on holiday at Mumbai from England recently i tried some Parsi food at a restaurant and really liked it. I have seen your Millenium recipe 2002 cook book and would like to know how to get hold of a copy.

  • junaid

    i saw about the club on rhodes in india tv show . i love cooking and would love to join your cooking classes . can u tell me who can i contact ? is there any contact number ? also where can i buy the cook book ?

  • Name (required)jasmine

    Type your comment here…hi myself jasmine dalal, i am looking out for the new edition of times and talent club cookery ominbus book , kindly please send me the detalis or procedure to purchase the book.

  • Doreen Martyris

    I am interested in a Cookery Book published in the Ruby Year on behalf of the Time and Talents Club consisting of 578 pages published by Hilla J.K. Daruwala. How do I procure this book and pay for it. Please reply on my E-mail. Thank you.

    Doreen Martyris, Vashi

  • Farzana

    Hi,

    I am interesting to find out if there are any copies available of The Times & Talents Club’s – Golden Jubilee recipe cook book – or any of the other T & T books. Or the Millennium Recipes book 2004.

    Please do let me know via email.

    Thanks

  • freddykapadia

    Plz do let me know were to buy this cook book

  • Farida

    I was going thrugh this website and came accross the Book Name time and Talent.My elder sister had once asked me if i can get this Book should buy it Hope anybody guide me ….
    Thank

  • Debashri

    I am not a Parsi but my entire family, Gandma, aunts, mom and I swear by the Time and Talents cookbook.
    I learnt to cook from this book and have referred to it for recipes of Biryani, fuitcake, date rolls, kul-kul and learned to cook white sauce.

    When I married and moved to Delhi from Bombay I wanted to take my own copy along and asked my mom to send me a copy (along with 2 Konkani food books)
    We havent been able to find a copy since the last 6 months as the Time and Talents club does not exist at the same place….
    I tried Parsi food in Delhi at the Parsi Anjuman and have frantically redoubled my efforts in locating the book…
    Any news on how and where I can find the book would be welcome… and if there is some issue in it’s publication I would be glad to help in whatever way I can.

    I would be very sad if the book is not being published anymore.

  • Acommissariat

    Where can I get the other editions of this book??

  • Acommissariat

    Where can I get the other editions of this book??

  • Godafreed

    i live in Nairobi, Kemya. and many years ago my mum bought a Time and Talent for me.
    I am always refering to  it whenver I need to. And I would love to get the latest edition for my daugher.
    Can anyone tell me where I can get one?

  • Godafreed

    i live in Nairobi, Kemya. and many years ago my mum bought a Time and Talent for me.
    I am always refering to  it whenver I need to. And I would love to get the latest edition for my daugher.
    Can anyone tell me where I can get one?

  • Dinyarp

    I bought the book many years ago at their “club” located near the Taj Hotel in Bombay. It is the last building just before the Gateway of India on the left side. I was recently there and wanted to buy another book but arrived just past the closing time of 5pm. Ask the policemen sitting on their chairs and they willuide you to the place.

    Regards

    Dinyar

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  • Rupal

    where can I purchase a copy of the latest version mentioned in this article?

  • Rupal

    where can I purchase a copy of the latest version mentioned in this article?

  • Navroze Contractor

    I want a copy of the book. I bought so many in the 1970s to give my friends.. My mother has a recipe in it too. Where can we find a copy?

  • Navroze Contractor

    Where can I purchase this book? Why is there no reply to any such requests?