The Hour of the Goddess  -  Memories of Women, Food and Ritual in Bengal

The Hour of the Goddess - Memories of Women, Food and Ritual in Bengal

Product ID: 29459

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Author: Chitrita Banerji
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2001
Language: English
Pages: 145
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0-14-400142-X


Food constitutes an integral aspect of the intellectual and cultural milieu of Bengal, and rituals, social customs and day-to-day routine are closely intertwined with the preparation of traditional dishes by the women of the household.

The quintessential Bengali emphasis on food was brilliantly encapsulated by Chitrita Banerji in Life and Food in Bengal.

In The Hour of the Goddess, she returns with an unbeatable combination of cultural insight, personal anecdote and mouthwatering recipes.

Intimate yet objective, it examines the complex connection between gender and food preparation, and the intricate relationship between food, ritual and art in Bengal. Written in her inimitable style, the book takes the reader on a journey that spans Banerji’s personal growth from girlhood to womanhood in Calcutta.

Gastronomy and social commentary combine to form a lucid, thoroughly enjoyable book that covers, among other things, offerings made to gods, restrictions imposed on widows, cooking tools, the role played by maidservants in Bengali households, and customs associated with eating.

Beautifully written and meticulously researched, The Hour of the Goddess is a finely crafted masterpiece that is at once memoir, food guide and cultural history.


‘A documentation of the rich, complex, multifaceted world of Bengali cuisine, which is at once sensuous, scientific, artistic and esoteric.’
--- The Statesman

‘At once a rich, sensuous experience of tastes, colour and fragrances; an intensely personal memoir; historical documentation; and social critique.’
--- The Hindu

‘All read and cooked The Hour of the Goddess is aromatic with panchphoron and delicious.’
--- Time out Mumbai



The Hour of the Goddess
Feeding the Gods
Patoler Ma
A Dose of Bitters
Food and Difference
Crossing the Borders
The Bonti of Bengal
Five Little Seeds
What Bengali Widows Cannot Eat
How Bengal Discovered ‘Chhana’
Food, Ritual and Art in Bengal