Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices

Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices

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by Chitrita Banerji
     
 

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Though it's primarily Punjabi food that's become known as Indian food in the United States, India is as much an immigrant nation as America, and it has the vast range of cuisines to prove it. In Eating India, award-winning food writer and Bengali food expert Chitrita Banerji takes readers on a marvelous odyssey through a national cuisine formed by generations

Overview

Though it's primarily Punjabi food that's become known as Indian food in the United States, India is as much an immigrant nation as America, and it has the vast range of cuisines to prove it. In Eating India, award-winning food writer and Bengali food expert Chitrita Banerji takes readers on a marvelous odyssey through a national cuisine formed by generations of arrivals, assimilations, and conquests. With each wave of newcomers-ancient Aryan tribes, Persians, Middle Eastern Jews, Mongols, Arabs, Europeans-have come new innovations in cooking, and new ways to apply India's rich native spices, poppy seeds, saffron, and mustard to the vegetables, milks, grains, legumes, and fishes that are staples of the Indian kitchen. In this book, Calcutta native and longtime U.S. resident Banerji describes, in lush and mouthwatering prose, her travels through a land blessed with marvelous culinary variety and particularity.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Award-winning food writer Banerji examines in marvelous detail the cultural and historical influences that have shaped regional cuisine in ancient and modern India. As she travels through India, Banerji, a Calcutta native who makes her home in the United States, poses compelling questions about the nature of authenticity in Indian cuisine for a land in constant flux from generations of colonialism and immigration and other external factors. Moving backward and forward in time, without a specific itinerary, Banerji takes readers on an exciting journey visiting cities, roadside shacks, a family's wedding, and other places, while seeking to understand and come to terms with an ever-changing nation. Learning about the contributions made by Persians, Jews, Mongols, Portuguese, and other immigrants to the national cuisine is fascinating. Readers will savor the author's mouthwatering prose as she recollects childhood memories of Bengali traditions and rituals centered on food. After reading this engaging work, one will appreciate the complexities and subtleties of Indian cuisine. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Christine Holmes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596917125
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/10/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Chitrita Banerji grew up in Calcutta and came to the United States as a graduate student; she received her master's degree in English from Harvard University. She has since become an internationally recognized writer on Bengali food, and is the author of Life and Food in Bengal, Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals, and Feeding the Gods: Memories of Women, Food, and Ritual in Bengal. A two-time winner of Sophie Coe awards in Food and History, she has written about food for Gourmet, Gastronomica, Granta, the Boston Globe, and the American Prospect. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.
Chitrita Banerji grew up in Calcutta and received her master's degree in English from Harvard University. She is an internationally recognized writer on Bengali food, and is the author of Life and Food in Bengal, Bengali Cooking, and Feeding the Gods. A two-time winner of Sophie Coe awards in Food and History, she has written about food for Gourmet, Granta and the American Prospect among others. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Eating India: An Odyssey Into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like the book but did not care for the mispelled words that were hard to decifer
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chitrita Banerji makes it clear she is embarrassed with her Hindu ancestry. Yet, settled in the USA, she has no qualms living off it by writing 'exotic' and 'feel-good' accounts of her ancestral land in a breathless, romantic style clearly aimed at the English-speaking West. If she stuck to food, fine, but the excursions she makes into religion and religious history are unnecessary, ignorant and biased. Some examples: 1' More than one reference to the Aryans migrating into India, though 'like the earlier, now discredited, Aryan Invasion Theory'there is absolutely no genetic or historical evidence for such a people in the subcontinent 2'claims four 'castes' for Hinduism - is ignorant of the difference between class 'varna' and caste 'jati'. 3' claims centuries of peaceful coexistence between Islam and Hinduism, ignoring the steady and and horrendous 1000-year jihad against non-Muslims documented from Islamic sources by SR Goel's 'Hindu Temples' What Happened to Them', but making it a point to mention any retaliation as 'Hindu' fundamentalism 4' claims similar peaceful coexistence in Kerala, ignoring the gruesome Moplah massacre of thousands of Hindus, but making it a point to mention one assassination by a 'Hindu' 5' refers to the 'two evils' of caste and untouchability in Hinduism, sings a paean for Sikh 'equality', omitting to mention that Sikhism has its 'scheduled castes' 'and Muslims have their castes to, from the Sheikhs and Sayyids downwards' 6' critical of foreigners being prevented entry in certain temples as if this is typical of Hinduism, though they can and do enter hundreds of other temples. Ignores the fact that non-Muslims certainly cannot join Muslim congregations at worship. 7' glories in the Goa cathedral, without a word that it is built over temples razed by the Jesuits is ignorant of the horrors of the Goa Inquisition, but criticizes the destruction of the disused Babri structure 8' refers to Mughal cuisine as India's haute cuisine - obviously, since the Mughals had destroyed the indigenous patrons of fine cooking 9' glosses over the violence of the Khalistanis, but it is 'Hindu' mobs who hit back after Mrs Gandhi's assassination refers to the ruling party in Gujarat as Hindu fundamentalist, but forgets the anti-Sikh riots were actively enabled by the 'secular' Rajiv Gandhi and his Congress Party, and defended publicly by Gandhi in his Boat Club speech 9' repeats as history the Syrian Christian origin myth, though it's been thoroughly demolished by Ishwar Sharan's 'The Myth of St Thomas & the Mylapore Shiva Temple' 10' .....and so on.