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Author: John Theime
Translator(s)/Editor: John Theime / Ira Raja
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195674448
This anthology of writings on food brings together a wide range of literary and non-literary texts from South Asia. It draws on writing in English from the subcontinent, as well as the diaspora and includes extracts from works by V S Naipaul, Romesh Gunesekera, Salman Rushdie, Sara Suleri, Kamila Shamsie, Githa Hariharan, and Kiran Desai, among others, alongside translations from regional Indian languages. The volume covers a broad range of areas of interest: scholarly, narrative, philosophical, literary, anthropological, and cultural.
Striking a balance between food writing and food cultural studies, the anthology offers something of interest for everyone. The persuasive and acutely argued Introduction blends erudition and readability. The well-conceived sections see food as a trope for, among other things, colonial semantics; caste oppression; female sexual subversion; the anti-colonial hunger strike, and the somatic realities of famine.
The recent interest in literary representations of food dwells on the idea that not only is eating the most basic of human activities, but also a major marker of social, cultural, and psychic identity. Food is an integral way in which individuals perceive themselves, and are perceived by others, resulting in stereotyping, as well as providing a means of self-determination.
The volumes’s most important contribution lies in bringing the specificities of South Asian food cultures to bear upon the global field of food cultural studies. It will appeal to all those interested in South Asian Culture, gender, literatue, anthropology, as well as general readers.
He put down two hundred dollars on the brass plate and, before he rose, whispered to Ganesh, Remember your promise, sahib. Eat, boy; eat, son; eat, sahib; eat, pundit sahib. I beg you, eat.
-V S NAIPAUL, from The Mystic Masseur
His stomach growled and he took the fruit into his hands. He was cross and grumpy. The guava was cool and green and calm-looking.…
Guavas are tasty and refreshing and should be eaten whenever possible. He stared at the fruit, wished he could absorb all its coolness, all its quiet and stillness into him.
-KIRAN DESAI, from Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
She was pretty, no doubt. Fine features, a butter-white complexion and small, dainty hands and feet. But she had let herself go and her body slackened like dough left out overnight.
-ISMAT CHUGHTAI, The Rock
Fasting, Feasting and Famine
Hunger and Appetite
Rites, Ceremonies and Customs
Meals and Restaurants
Kitchens and Cooks
Herbs and Spices
Fruits and Desserts
Discourses of Desire
Nostalgia, Memory and Diaspora
Caste, Community, and Culture
GLOSSARY OF FOOD TERMS