Food Studies in South Asia

Everyone eats. In this day and age food books are bestsellers, cooking shows are ubiquitous, and the public is informed about food safety and food politics more than ever before. The mainstream media no longer tends to blame malnutrition and food insecurity on overpopulation but on poverty and poor governance. Food is experiencing an increasing level of public discourse under topics like diet, health and agriculture. In the midst of this uprising trend it only seems natural for us to see academicians, journalists, and citizens interact with food variously interpreting the implications of these interactions in many ways. There has been much associated with the nature of food but here as a part of South Asian Culture Studies we have decided to look at food as culture.

Whenever we eat we presuppose some conception – however vague – of what food is or identify something as food. Different conceptions can have real consequences for our health, the environment, and the economy. Food has social meaning and significance beyond its nutritive function; it is also expressive and normative. Each society determines what is food, what is permissible to eat, and how and when particular things are consumed. Food laws, for example, specify what is intended to be, and can reasonably expected to be ingested by humans. There are good and bad foods, legal and illegal foods, appropriate and inappropriate foods, basic and celebratory foods, ritualistic and symbolic foods, and so on. Food preparation and consumption are bound to the beliefs, practices, and laws of nations and cultures. Food and culture define one another and hence in this paper we shall attempt to understand the various processes food undergoes as it impacts and reflects the daily, micro and macro, practices of peoples lives. To study this dynamic we look at how globalization has precipitated the circulation of cultural forms related to food in ways that has transformed peoples’ interaction with their native foo

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