7 years ago, I traveled to India to attend my friend Jehanzeb’s wedding. It was an amazing experience – full of food, flavors and textures I had never before experienced. I stayed with friends of Jehanzeb and they took me on a weekend trip to Pune, a city 100 miles inland from Mumbai. We stopped by a bakery and picked up some cookies called Shrewsbury biscuits. These biscuits were the best shortbread cookies I’ve have had, with and amazing light, crispy texture. I obsessed about them after I got home. Searching on the internet yielded nothing, so I actually wrote to Cook’s Illustrated Magazine about them and they published my letter in the monthly feature for lost recipes. Again, it yielded nothing.
Fast forward to last January and I’m teaching a beginner’s bridge class at MIT. I meet Akhil, a young Indian man who becomes enamored with bridge, finishes the class and starts to play at the regular Tuesday night game. When he mentions that he is from Pune, I tell him about my love affair with the Shrewsbury Biscuits and how hard I tried to get a recipe. He had never heard of them, but he will ask his parents about them.
Last Tuesday, he hands me a Christmas bag and in it are a box of Shrewsbury biscuits. His parents came to visit for the holidays and brought me a box of the cookies from the famous Kayani Bakery in Pune. I was ecstatic, but also nervous; would they live up to the memory from 7 years ago? Yes. The cookie was just as crispy, buttery and delicious as I remember them to be.
I did another internet search for the biscuits last night – now, there are several different sites with blog posts and recipes. I guess there has been an explosion in food blogging in the last 7 years. I’ll try one of the recipes and let you know how it compares. Thanks Akhil, you are a super rock star.