Book Review · Chitrita Banerjee · Non Fiction

Review: Eating India by Chitrita Banerjee

Eating India was my first sampling of a food writer. So I really didn’t know what to expect. I definitely did not expect to find myself glued to the book until I finally reached the last page and flipped over certain exciting parts again. This book was one of the first books in a long time that made me want to get up and do something similar.

Chitrita Banerjee, a Bengali food writer settled in Boston, USA, ¬†revisits her home town in Bengal, India, for a wedding. Though there are major changes in her home town in terms of development, the culture and traditions haven’t altered very much. She is delighted to find that the food is as delicious as she remembers it to be from when she was little.

In this book, the writer travels around India tasting the food, describing it (so vividly that the reader found herself perpetually famished), and discovering the stories and beginnings of India’s exquisite tastes. Eating India is a well crafted narrative of India’s culture and it’s people in relation to food.

Chitrita Banerjee’s description of Bengali food had me desperate for a Bengali meal. I finally had Macher Jhol (Traditional Bengali Fish Curry) and Rice, which was by the way, authentic and delicious beyond words. But back to the book. I didn’t think the author described the other foods as deliciously as she did Bengali food. Some of the foods described haven’t been adequately justified. And I only say this because I’ve tasted these foods myself.

Macher Jhol. Yum!

On the whole, this book is a fun read. But be prepared to be unsatisfied. It’s only satisfying once you’ve actually had the food. Or perhaps, it would be advisable to read this book with a ready snack at hand.

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