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Curried Cultures

Globalization, Food, and South Asia

Krishnendu Ray

Publication Year: 2012

Although South Asian cookery and gastronomy has transformed contemporary urban foodscape all over the world, social scientists have paid scant attention to this phenomenon. Curried Cultures–a wide-ranging collection of essays–explores the relationship between globalization and South Asia through food, covering the cuisine of the colonial period to the contemporary era, investigating its material and symbolic meanings. Curried Cultures challenges disciplinary boundaries in considering South Asian gastronomy by assuming a proximity to dishes and diets that is often missing when food is a lens to investigate other topics. The book’s established scholarly contributors examine food to comment on a range of cultural activities as they argue that the practice of cooking and eating matter as an important way of knowing the world and acting on it.

Published by: University of California Press

Series: California Studies in Food and Culture

Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ii-v


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pp. vii-viii


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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-28

South Asia is a new hub of intersecting global networks nourished by proliferating material and symbolic transactions propelling bodies, things, and conceptions across national boundaries. In this book, traversing national boundaries is the contingent operational definition of globalization. That implies at least two things: globalization becomes more visible after national ...

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2. A Different History of the Present: The Movement of Crops, Cuisines and Globalization

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pp. 29-46

Globalization as a phenomenon has captured the popular and scholarly imagination in the First World in the last two decades. Much of this discussion of globalization has turned on trade and economic issues, and on the very visible worldwide diffusion of media and popular culture. Thanks to a series of highly visible protests against the World Trade Organization, ...


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3. Cosmopolitan Kitchens: Cooking for Princely Zenanas in Late Colonial India

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pp. 49-72

A state banquet at the palace of an Indian prince during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century would have presented a “hybrid mélange of Hindu, Mughal and English court customs” (Dwivedi 1999: 28). Highly spiced and scented Mughal delicacies, perfected at the kitchens in Awadh, would be presented alongside Anglo-Indian staples such as ...

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4. Nation on a Platter: The Culture and Politics of Food and Cuisine in Colonial Bengal

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pp. 73-87

Recent critical work on nationalism has tended to shift the emphasis from long, drawn-out anticolonial political struggles for emancipation from political subordination to the more complex and nuanced struggles or contestations over cultural or intellectual domains or sites. It has been argued that the political movement of nationalism often derives new strength ...


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5. Udupi Hotels: Entrepreneurship, Reform, and Revival

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pp. 91-109

This chapter examines the evolution of a traditional Brahmanical food practice in the modern world. Traveling in southern India, as Naipaul did, one sooner or later encounters Udupi restaurants and hotels, such as the Madras Woodlands.1 We will pursue the historical and geographical origins and the economic developments of some of these hotels and restaurants, ...

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6. Dum Pukht: A Pseudo-Historical Cuisine

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pp. 110-125

Ishtiyaque, Amin, and I drive in a green car, snaking through the old city of Lucknow. Darkness is punctured by the purple shades of fluorescent light reflected off whitewashed walls. We are debriefing, while peering through the windows, searching for the tell-tale sign of open-air cooking: flame close to the ground. We have just completed an unsatisfying yet rather

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7. “Teaching Modern India How to Eat”: “Authentic” Foodways and Regimes of Exclusion in Affluent Mumbai

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pp. 126-142

French philosopher Jacques Derrida contends that his law of genre embodies “order’s principle: resemblance, analogy, identity and difference . . . order of reasons, sense of sense” (1980: 81). Positing that genres’ very existence engenders boundaries, limits and, by default, exclusion, Derrida draws our attention to the otherwise rather self-evident point that ...

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8. “Going for an Indian”: South Asian Restaurants and the Limits of Multiculturalism in Britain

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pp. 143-174

“Going for an Indian”—or “out for a curry”—has become an increasingly prominent aspect of British social, economic, and cultural life since the 1960s. In assessing the wide appeal of South Asian food and restaurants in April 2001, Britain’s late Foreign Secretary Robin Cook proclaimed that “Chicken Tikka Massala”—one of the cuisine’s mainstays among British ...

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9. Global Flows, Local Bodies: Dreams of Pakistani Grill in Manhattan

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pp. 175-195

A definitive study of immigration proposed by the Committee on International Migration of the Social Science Research Council of the United States, titled Immigration Research for a New Century (Foner, Rumbaut, & Gold 2000), underlines the saliency of race, language, and gender, yet it lists neither the body nor embodiment in its index and section ...

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10. From Curry Mahals to Chaat Cafés: Spatialities of the South Asian Culinary Landscape

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pp. 196-218

Ethnic restaurants and grocery stores play an important role in the creation of contemporary American urban culture. Difference, both symbolic and real, is expressed through cuisine and culinary practices in these sites. Increasingly such spaces are emerging in neighborhoods impacted by demographic, economic, and political restructuring and urban revitalization ...

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11. Masala Matters: Globalization, Female Food Entrepreneurs, and the Changing Politics of Provisioning

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pp. 219-236

The context for this exploration is the specific question of local and global articulation (Miller 2005: 55) of prepackaged Indian food and its shifting meanings as it travels across the globe. Sidney Mintz noted in his pathbreaking study of the ethnohistory of sugar that studying the consumption of food constitutes the “inside meaning of food,” but the socioeconomic ...

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Postscript: Globalizing South Asian Food Cultures: Earlier Stops to New Horizons

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pp. 237-254

The anthropological study of human food systems, although carried out since the beginning of the field, is becoming an important subfield and is proving “valuable for debating and advancing anthropological theory and research methods” (Mintz & Du Bois 2002: 99; also Messer 1984: 205–249). This postscript cannot be comprehensive, so it will focus on a few trajectories in ...


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pp. 255-298


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pp. 299-301


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pp. 303-316

Other Works in the Series, Production Notes

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pp. 317-319

E-ISBN-13: 9780520952249
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520270114

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: California Studies in Food and Culture