Category Food writing

2012-12-28 14.48.18

A Matter of Taste

“Uncharted continents began opening up before our dazzled eyes, great landscapes where Allan Sealy’s Smarmite shared the same table as Kesavan’s all-inclusive, nationalist feast from Looking Through Glass, and Daniel and Ramdoss made a mango pilgrimage of India (and, in the literary magazine Biblio, a controversy broke out over whether ‘Blue Mangoes’ was really a […]

Food: In The Flesh

Published in Seminar, 2005 Here is a partial list of animals I have eaten over the last three decades. Goat (legs, stomach, brain, sweetbreads, kidney, liver, yes; eyes and head, never); cow (usually in the form of steaks, but also the tail in soups, the tongue, the parts inside—liver, kidneys, even heart, brain, intestines, but […]

English Vegetables, Desi Steak

Galangal and lemon grass were piled up in hillocks. The mushrooms were fresh and came in four varieties-white, dried dhingri, dried shiitake and dried, slightly dubious porcini. “Madam,” said my old faithful vegetable seller, “aur bhi fresh-fresh aaye hain, English vegetables.” I came back with the usual urban load of fancy ghaas-phoos: borkoli, snaw piss, […]

On being fed by friends

Traditionally, it’s the women who do it. Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters, pouring their love and their frustrations into what they put on the plate; the extra sandesh, the meal that took six hours to cook and a week to plan. Then we grew up, and moved out, and there were no more Mashimas […]

Food: Following Fish

(Published in the Business Standard, June 2010, in the food column) The arguments against fish are many, especially in a north Indian city like Delhi. Fish is bony — often, in fact, the tastier the fish, the bonier it is. Its fragrance is persistent, and for some, too pungent to handle. Meat is relatively easy […]

Food: India’s national dish

(Published in Outlook, January 11, 2010. I had a wonderful sparring match with a foodie friend where we both agreed that India’s national dish should be dal–but that since there’s no chance of agreeing on what kind of dal, I said I’d stick with the choice of the masses.) In Looking Through Glass, Mukul Kesavan […]

Apologies and a nibble: English vegetables, desi steak

(Haven’t had time to update the blog for a while–my apologies. Here’s a place-holder–an essay on food, written in 2003, that I thought I’d lost. Enjoy.) Galangal and lemon grass were piled up in hillocks. The mushrooms were fresh and came in four varieties-white, dried dhingri, dried shitaake and dried, slightly dubious porcini. “Maydum,” said […]

Food: Table for one

(Published in the Business Standard, November 2009) “In the same way that you should get massages and take naps or meditate, you should, everyone should, make a point to eat out by yourself from time to time,” wrote Amanda Hesser in her wonderful Cooking for Mr Latte. “You should be kind enough to yourself to […]

Book review: Eat My Globe

Eat My GlobeOne Man’s Search for the Best Food in the WorldSimon MajumdarHachette, Rs 295, 278 pages “I may not be the first person to have eaten rat in China, elk in Finland, barbecue in Texas, crickets in Manila or cod sperm sushi in Kyoto, but there are not too many people out there who […]

Literary orgies

(Published in the Business Standard, April 9, 2007, Speaking Volumes) It is a lowering thought, but until last week, I had spent over a decade in Delhi without receiving a single invitation to a literary orgy. There have been, admittedly, literary evenings where authors, critics and editors have variously been carved up as the main […]

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