The Oxford Anthology of South Asian Food Writing

The Oxford Anthology of South Asian Food Writing

Product ID: 19805

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Author: John Theime
Ira Raja/
Translator(s)/Editor: John Theime / Ira Raja
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 384
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195674448


This anthology of writings on food brings together a wide range of literary and non-literary texts from South Asia. It draws on writing in English from the subcontinent, as well as the diaspora and includes extracts from works by V S Naipaul, Romesh Gunesekera, Salman Rushdie, Sara Suleri, Kamila Shamsie, Githa Hariharan, and Kiran Desai, among others, alongside translations from regional Indian languages. The volume covers a broad range of areas of interest: scholarly, narrative, philosophical, literary, anthropological, and cultural.

Striking a balance between food writing and food cultural studies, the anthology offers something of interest for everyone. The persuasive and acutely argued Introduction blends erudition and readability. The well-conceived sections see food as a trope for, among other things, colonial semantics; caste oppression; female sexual subversion; the anti-colonial hunger strike, and the somatic realities of famine.

The recent interest in literary representations of food dwells on the idea that not only is eating the most basic of human activities, but also a major marker of social, cultural, and psychic identity. Food is an integral way in which individuals perceive themselves, and are perceived by others, resulting in stereotyping, as well as providing a means of self-determination.

The volumes’s most important contribution lies in bringing the specificities of South Asian food cultures to bear upon the global field of food cultural studies. It will appeal to all those interested in South Asian Culture, gender, literatue, anthropology, as well as general readers.


He put down two hundred dollars on the brass plate and, before he rose, whispered to Ganesh, Remember your promise, sahib. Eat, boy; eat, son; eat, sahib; eat, pundit sahib. I beg you, eat.
-V S NAIPAUL, from The Mystic Masseur

His stomach growled and he took the fruit into his hands. He was cross and grumpy. The guava was cool and green and calm-looking.…
Guavas are tasty and refreshing and should be eaten whenever possible. He stared at the fruit, wished he could absorb all its coolness, all its quiet and stillness into him.
-KIRAN DESAI, from Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

She was pretty, no doubt. Fine features, a butter-white complexion and small, dainty hands and feet. But she had let herself go and her body slackened like dough left out overnight.





Fasting, Feasting and Famine

Hunger and Appetite

Rites, Ceremonies and Customs

Meals and Restaurants

Kitchens and Cooks

Herbs and Spices

Fruits and Desserts

Discourses of Desire

Nostalgia, Memory and Diaspora

Caste, Community, and Culture