Paperback Pickings

The Telegraph, December 18, 2015

CHILLIES AND PORRIDGE: WRITING FOOD (HarperCollins, Rs 499) edited by Mita Kapur makes up for the lack of serious literature on culinary habits and practices. It brings together a number of noted scholars, journalists and writers in an effort to reconsider the ways in which food affects our lives. Bachi Karkaria shows how food is used to define the identities of communities, as of Parsis or Bengalis. Chitrita Banerji’s delightful piece on the Bengali bonti is sure to change the way we think about this quotidian kitchen instrument. Saleem Kidwai recounts his traumatic childhood experience of being forced to participate in the ‘manly’ sport of hunting while he grappled with his sexuality. Janice Pariat’s piece on porridge is an ode to this humble dish that has, surprisingly, found a place in the writings of several authors, including Forster, Brontë and Blyton. The book ends on an ominous note. Tara Deshpande Tennebaum warns us about the socio-cultural impact of Western-style junk food, that is slowly but steadily replacing our traditional cuisine.

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