Author Archive

The Food-Centered Story: The many faces of hunger

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Ten years ago Random House published a wonderful anthology of food writing, Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. All essays, articles, and fiction featured in the book had earlier appeared in The New Yorker. I bought the book a couple of years after its publication

Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Hema and Kaushik”: Love Across Borders

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
When I first read Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s long short story “Hema and Kaushik,” I lived in suburban Mumbai, where I often sat in darkness by the window at night all by myself. In Koparkhairane, twenty-four miles from downtown Mumbai, power outages were common.

In Frances Mayes’ Book, Another Starring Role for Food

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
Last month, I wrote about the starring role food plays in Peter Mayle’s memoir, A Year in Provence. Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy has been called the Italian equivalent of Mayle’s book. Mayes is a poet, so it is natural that her prose charms

How Food Stars in Peter Mayle’s Memoir

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Being a lover of food and memoirs, I have a dream of living in a foreign country, especially in Europe, for a year and writing about its food customs.

Faith and Fiction: Did Salinger’s Work Give in to Vedanta?

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
The impact of Vedanta philosophy on Salinger’s life is obvious, but is open to debate as far as his writing is concerned. Having been deeply influenced by the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and Vedantic thought, Salinger created characters who, a few scholars have said, seem to spread the author’s

The Mango Story: Beyond the Asian Stereotype

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
For a nonfiction food writer, the mango provides an endless mine of stories. For those living in Asia and immigrants in other countries, eating mangoes is so visceral, so memorable an experience that the significance of eating them often transcends mere flavor. Mango then becomes a metaphor.

Can the Language of Food Unite the World?

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
In an earlier post, I wrote about how food writers grapple with the challenge of describing taste and smell. There are many more aspects to the language used to describe food. Stanford University linguist Dan Jurafsky has written a fascinating study, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the

Seeking a Poet’s Soul and Native Heritage

Author: | Categories: Reading No comments
I grew up in India’s heartland, 500 miles from Bengal, the state where I was born – and where one of India’s greatest poets lived and wrote. The poet, India’s only Nobel Prize winner in literature, Rabindranath Tagore, was a Bengali.

Writing in a Non-Native Language: Choosing Whom to Love

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
During my adolescence, I fell in love with a language before I fell in love with a human being. In high school, in India, a former colony of the British, I came to like – and then love – the English language. The first words I had learned as

Adding Taste to Food Writing

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
I remember the smells from my mother’s cooking that wafted in the breeze as I played as a young boy growing up in India’s heartland. I remember the smell of mustard seeds that went pop pop pop in hot mustard oil in a kadhai.