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Food through the ages

Food through the ages
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A cook book titled Mukhwas: Indian food through Ages was launched by the Ambassador of France François Richier. The book is a personal attempt by Dr Alka Pande to untangle the various strands of India’s rich food culture.

On the occasion, Pande had a discussion with Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya, physician and Ayurvedic scholar, on the current state of Indian cuisine and the process of rediscovery of indigenous food wisdom underway in India. An art installation and photographs by Rohit Chawla was on display during the soirée.

Mukhwas: Indian Food through Ages is a fascinating survey of India’s culinary history, compounded by the author’s anecdotes, literary quotes and recollections of her life’s experiences. The book trails Indian cuisine in all its glory, thereby doing justice to peoples’ obsession for food. The prologue criticises the factor that threatens the true appreciation of food today – the ‘size zero fetish’. While this may be an undesirable truth, more worrisome is the fascination for international cuisines, thus drawing a curtain on the authentic food that flourished in the gallis and nukkads.

Mukhwas’s real value lies in packaging food as not simply a means for survival but more. In this country food is an instrument of Ayurveda, leading in festivals, feasting and fasting and colonial rulers’ culinary legacies as well.  A new facet the author astutely explores is the ‘food of love’. Apart from increasing sexual desire, food supposedly absorbs the thoughts and emotions of the cook, thereby affecting its taste and people around.
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