- Print Length: 336 Pages
- Publisher: Reaktion Books
- Publication Date: February 15, 2015
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01HD7I8WO
- ISBN-10: 1780233523
- ISBN-13: 978-1780233529
- File Format: EPUB
I’m not a big fan of Indian food so I had some reservations about this book. I happened to open the book in the chapter about Goa, a colony that Portugal clung to long after the United Kingdom and France withdrew their sovereignty over Indian territory. From 1947 to 1961, India and Portugal shared the sub-continent — not happily, to say the least. But Goa had been Portugal’s (de facto) for about 450 years, and saying goodbye to a centuries-old exclave wasn’t easy for a past world power.
Being Portuguese myself, “A History of Food in India” immediately caught my attention, beginning with Goa but then expanding to the rest of the book. The author’s writing style is very approachable and not at all “academese” or jargon-filled. Nor does she water-down her text to cater to the stereotype of foodies. Highly recommended.
The second most populous country in the world after China and the seventh largest in area, India is unique among nations in its diversity of climates, languages, religions, tribes, customs and, of course, cuisines. Yet what is it that makes Indian food so recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way?
India is at the centre of a vast network of land and sea trade routes – conduits for plants, ingredients, dishes and cooking techniques to and from the rest of the world. Foreign visitors have long marvelled at India’s agricultural bounty, including its ancient indigenous plants such as lentils, aubergines, turmeric and pepper, all of which have been central to the Indian diet for thousands of years.
Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India is an exploration of Indian cuisine in the context of the country’s religious, moral, social and philosophical development. It addresses topics such as dietary prescriptions and proscriptions, the origins of vegetarianism, culinary borrowings and innovations, the use of spices and the inseparable links between diet, health and medicine. This lavishly illustrated book gives a mouth-watering tour of India’s regional cuisines, containing numerous recipes to interest and excite readers.