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Life and Food in Bengal

Chitrita Banerji (Author)
Synopsis Bengalis are perhaps the greatest food lovers in the Indian subcontinent. Their cuisine, developed over the centuries, is based on a meticulous selection of local ingredients: rice, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and a variety of spices. In this revised edition of the classic Life and food in Bengal, Chitrita Banerji invites the reader to ‘enter, observe, feel and absorb’ Bengal – the Indian state of West Bengal and the sovereign country of Bangladesh. Life in Bengal – a land of paddy fields and rivers full of fish – has always been governed by the agricultural year and the changing seasons. These have also determined the food that Bengalis eat as well as their rituals and festivals. Food is so inextricably linked to Bengali culture that even Bengali folk art and literature draw heavily on food and food-related motifs. The author who was born in Calcutta and lived in Bangladesh for seven years, traces the months of the Bengali year, from the long, hot days of spring and summer through the joy of the first rains of the monsoon followed by the terror of ruinous floods, on to golden harvest of autumn and finally to the cool winter. Weaving fiction and personal narrative, Banerji takes the reader into Bengali homes and allows us to participate in Bengali rituals and festivals. Along the way she serves up a superb collection of time-tested recipes that include delectable vegetarian dishes devised by Hiindu widows, Muslim delicacies like spicy mutton rezala, hilsa with mustard, crab jhal, and a variety of pickles, chutneys and home-made sweets. Intimate and evocative, Life and Food in Bengal is a rich narrative full of anecdotes, folklore and imagery from Bengali literature, making this a truly timeless book.
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About the author

Chitrita Banerji

Chitrita Banerji grew up in Calcutta, received her master’s degree from Harvard University, and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She spent many years as a journalist, editor and translator. Her other books include Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals and The Hour of the Goddess: Memories of Women, Food, and Ritual in Bengal. Her articles, columns and short fiction have appeared in Granta, Gourmet, Gastronomica, Boston Globe, American Prospect, Calyx, Petits Propos Culinaires, Phoenix, and Boston Magazine, and she has received awards for her papers at the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery.

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Bibliographic information

Title Life and Food in Bengal
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0143032739
length xc+237p., Map; Glossary; Bibliography; Index; 20cm.