A Social History of Food
Sucharita Sengupta
CURRIED CULTURES: INDIAN FOOD IN THE AGE OF GLOBALIZATION by Krishnendu Ray & Tulasi Srinivas Aleph Book Company, New Delhi, 2018, 316 pp., 499
March 2018, volume 42, No 3

A recent revival in the unearthing culinary histories of India has brought forth some marvellous writing. The study of food has been serious business in certain parts of the world for quite some time, with university departments dedicated to the subject. However, India has lagged behind in this respect. This gap is slowly being filled, both through academic and popular writing.

Popular publications have had a tradition of carrying written recipes, mostly to benefit the home maker in infusing variety in daily cooking. Subsequently, with the opening up of the Indian economy, attention turned to international cuisine and ingredients available in Indian restaurants and departmental stores. Simultaneously, the interest in regional and hyperlocal cuisine, thus far relegated to home kitchens, made their mark as saleable products. These developments coincided with a spurt of food-related shows on television channels. The internet contributed to the fetishization of food via an incessant stream of what is colloquially referred to as ‘food porn’— photographs of food on social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

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