A Food Biography of India by Shylashri Shankar (forthcoming)

Category: Non-fiction
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books (forthcoming)
Rights: World rights available (excluding Indian subcontinent)

What one consumes as food plays a major role in defining not just the physical well-being but also has an impact on facets of one’s identity.

Who am I? We define the ‘I’ in relation to someone or something. The theme of the book is how the way one relates to food (personally and culturally) can help one live an artful life. We act out our proclivities and prejudices in the way we consume or reject a dish, who we eat it with, and how we prepare it.

In life, as in food, we aspire to achieve a harmony of balance between the sweet, the bitter, the salty and the unani. The book begins with sensations (taste, pain and pleasure), then moves to the thinking process (food for the brain), and on to memories (hunting luncheons as a type of leisure, culture and rituals, gods and their favourite food;) and more global concerns (national cuisine, gender issues, and vegetarianism). The book concludes with a chapter on philosophy and nutrition.

The essays weave in psychological, scientific, archeological and cultural research with personal memories and interrogate how one’s relationship with food shapes one’s identity.