FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD

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The Goya Journal’s Aysha Tanya and Anisha Oommen on food and writing

The founders of Goya Media and The Goya Journal tell us about their journeys with food, personal food gurus and share with us the perfect recipe for Black Eyed Beans Soup with Coconut!

AO: Anisha Oommen and AT: Aysha Tanya. 

How did The Goya Journal start? What led you on this journey?
AO: The Goya Journal began as a way to document what we see as the *real* food of India - outside of restaurants, and inside home kitchens. We wanted to create a platform for food media, where journalism could explore aspects of culture, identity, politics, gender, and socio-economics, through the lens of food. 

AT: The Goya Journal started as a medium to write about food in a way that wasn’t being written about a lot in the country. We wanted to look at food through a lens beyond restaurant culture.

You have a wide selection of articles from recipes to culinary histories and features on people, ingredients and produce...
AO: We have a larger vision of what we want Goya to be, and every day it is baby steps to getting there. It's a lot of stepping away from the daily grind to take in larger perspectives - of the stories we want to tell, the narratives that are absent in mainstream media, and how best to tell these stories. We see food as a way to understand every part of the world around us - agriculture, economics, power disparities, heritage - food encompasses all this.

AT: Our aim is always to learn something new, and when we get a pitch about an ingredient/person/cuisine we haven’t heard of before, we’re very excited to share this with our audience. That’s generally the guiding factor for what goes on The Journal.

What or who are your personal influences in the world of food?
AO: I'd say Aysha, my partner at Goya, is a big influence - we're very different people, and a lot of what I discover and learn is through her. Also my community, the Syrian Christians of Kerala. Some food writers in particular - Anthony Bourdain, Madhur Jaffrey, Archana Pidathala. And then there's Food52 and Lucky Peach.

AT: Nigella Lawson has played a huge role in my career as a food writer. Always a champion of the home cook, she celebrates and glorifies the home kitchen. I also have a lot of respect for Madhur Jaffrey for elevating Indian food and putting it on the global culinary map. 

Tell us about your collaborations with other publications and agencies like Vogue India, Penguin, NDTV as part of your sister company, Goya Media...
AO: These collaborations have been very organic - either we've worked together before, or we see mutual value in these collabs and decide to work together. It's always a lot of fun, and always challenging us to think in different directions because these organisations often adopt a different approach to food than we do. It keeps us on our toes!

AT: We look for partners who are also excited about doing interesting things in the food space. Many of the collaborations we have done in the past have come about because of this.

Any tips to share with our readers for cooking in the fall?
AO: Our rule of thumb is to always cook with ingredients that are in season - it’s the one trick to really amp up flavour.

AT: The rainy season and cooler days in general are the perfect time for soup. We’re both very big on soup, especially ones that have interesting ingredients in them. This is a Malabar Tea Room recipe for Black Eyed Beans soup that we always return to:

RECIPE: Black Eyed Beans Soup with Coconut Milk
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Olive oil, for serving
  • Finely chopped parsley, for serving 

Malabar Tea Room

The Goya Journal is a food and culture publication owned by Goya Media, a food media production company.

Aysha Tanya and Anisha Rachel Oommen are the editors and co-founders of The Goya Journal. Aysha’s writings on food have appeared in several publications including Lucky Peach, Food52, Vogue and National Geographic Traveller. Anisha has previously worked at the Yahoo India editorial team, and is also a contributing writer for GQ Magazine and Scroll.in.

Find The Goya Journal online and on Instagram


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