Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India

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Reaktion Books, Nov 15, 2014 - Cooking - 336 pages
From dal to samosas, paneer to vindaloo, dosa to naan, Indian food is diverse and wide-ranging—unsurprising when you consider India’s incredible range of climates, languages, religions, tribes, and customs. Its cuisine differs from north to south, yet what is it that makes Indian food recognizably Indian, and how did it get that way? To answer those questions, Colleen Taylor Sen examines the diet of the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years, describing the country’s cuisine in the context of its religious, moral, social, and philosophical development.

Exploring the ancient indigenous plants such as lentils, eggplants, and peppers that are central to the Indian diet, Sen depicts the country’s agricultural bounty and the fascination it has long held for foreign visitors. She illuminates how India’s place at the center of a vast network of land and sea trade routes led it to become a conduit for plants, dishes, and cooking techniques to and from the rest of the world. She shows the influence of the British and Portuguese during the colonial period, and she addresses India’s dietary prescriptions and proscriptions, the origins of vegetarianism, its culinary borrowings and innovations, and the links between diet, health, and medicine. She also offers a taste of Indian cooking itself—especially its use of spices, from chili pepper, cardamom, and cumin to turmeric, ginger, and coriander—and outlines how the country’s cuisine varies throughout its many regions.

Lavishly illustrated with one hundred images, Feasts and Fasts is a mouthwatering tour of Indian food full of fascinating anecdotes and delicious recipes that will have readers devouring its pages.
 

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User Review  - DrJSH - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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HORRIBLE, I am Sikh and some of these are way off. ITS SO HARD TOO LOOK THROUGH IT THERE ARE PROBABLY SOME MISSING PARTS!!!!

Contents

Introduction
7
Climate Crops and Prehistory
10
The Age of Ritual 17001100 BCE
34
The Renunciant Tradition and Vegetarianism 1000300 BCE
47
Global India and the New Orthodoxy 300 BCE 500 CE
72
New Religious Trends and Movements Feasting and Fasting 5001000 CE
93
Food and Indian Doctors 600 Bce600 CE
117
The Middle Ages The Manasolassa Lokopakara and Regional Cuisines 6001300 CE
137
An Overview of Indian Cuisine The Meal Cooking Techniques and Regional Variations
238
New Trends in Indian Food 1947Present
273
The Food of the Indian Diaspora
291
Timeline
312
References
315
Select Bibliography
335
Acknowledgements
340
Photo Acknowledgements
341

The Delhi Sultanate Nimatnama Supa Shastra and Ksemakutuhalam 13001550
152
The Mughal Dynasty and its Successors 15261857
179
The Europeans the Princes and their Legacy 15001947
208

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About the author (2014)

Colleen Taylor Sen lives in Chicago, where she is an independent food historian and writer specializing in Indian cuisine and the author of several books, including Curry: A Global History, also published by Reaktion Books.

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