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.
The buffet of novels in which food takes center stage is abundant and delicious. As a nonfiction food writer and a dabbler in fiction I find a wide array as I try to research how fiction writers, especially novelists, depict food. Simple preliminary Googling suggests more than fifty such novels.
I remember my first years in America from the early 1990s. I was a graduate student of journalism at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C., where I was still finding my feet in the U.S., full of wonder and curiosity—and apprehension. One semester at the university, after
One of the most profound depictions of memory in literature is immortalized in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. The Madeleine Moment, as it is often called, exists in Proust’s seven-volume novel, where the narrator is swamped by memories when he dunks a madeleine, a sort of cake,
“The writer who never talks about eating, about appetite, hunger, food, about cooks and meals, arouses my suspicion as though some vital element were missing in him,” wrote the Italian writer Aldo Buzzi, in his book, The Perfect Egg: And Other Secrets. Yet, writers who write primarily about food
Not too long ago, as a writer who was based in India, once a colony of the British, and who had once been a “citizen of the world” living in the United States, I wondered, with apprehension, whether my stories would resonate with American and global readers and editors.
I have always been enchanted by Virginia Woolf and—being an avid cook and food writer myself—by gastronomic references in literature, both fiction and nonfiction. So when I learned about a book about the eating habits of the Bloomsbury set, of which Woolf was a member, I took notice. The