Saturday, August 4, 2007

"Curry," continued

I am really enjoying this book -- so glad it caught my eye in an airport bookstore a few weeks ago. I didn't buy it there, just scribbled down the title, because everything in airports always costs much more than anywhere else. Bought the book at B&N a few days later.

So I have learned from the first chapter what I sort of knew already, but in greater detail: that speaking of India is like speaking of South America. Not a homogenous, stereotype-able bloc but a patchwork of languages and peoples, each cherishing their own customs and culture.

What was historic India is today several independent nations: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. Scattered across this vast swath of geography are people of widely differing religious practices -- Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Christians, etc, each with their own cultural practices. And within these groups are subgroups with their own differences. And in some cases, groups have mixed to create new groups, such as the fusion of Hinduism and Islam that gave rise to the Sikhs.

India's caste system also determines who eats what and how: a Brahmin and an untouchable theoretically have different diets based on concepts of ritual purity.

Of course, "Curry'"s theme is food and author Collingham points out that despite the huge differences in cuisine from region to region, and the overlay and adaptions from India's various conquerors, all true Indian cuisine is inspired by ancient Ayurvedic principles:

"The idea of mixing hot and cold foods to achieve a sublime blend of the six essential tastes (pungent, acidic, salty, sweet, astringent and bitter) still lies at the heart of Indian cookery today."

5 comments:

Carmen said...

India is in my future. I think I am going to check your new friend's link about dreams. You know by now, I am into dreams, too
Have a great week!
P.S. I am going to be unplugged for about 10 days starting this coming Friday. I am taking a short vacation to visit family in Boston. Stay happy and curious and read, read and keep being a nice man ;-)

eastcoastdweller said...

Have a wonderful trip, dear beautiful Carmen. I know that all Your blog friends, myself included, will miss You.

Boston has so much to see! A Woman who is as curious and appreciative of life, sights and sounds as You are, will certainly enjoy Herself there.

-Jeane Michelle Culp said...

When you write about India, I want to share a wonderful young Poet from this homeland, Anandi.

eastcoastdweller said...

Jeane: Why wait? I'll go visit Her now!

eastcoastdweller said...

Anand is a "he." Oops. A great poet, though.