Eating Cultures: Incorporation, Identity, and Indian Food"

Uma Narayan offers a post–modernist interpretation of Indian foods in her article Eating Cultures: Incorporation, Identity and Indian Food. The focus is on parallels between the British fabrication of curry powder and the colonial fabrication of India: the relationships between food norms and political and religious animosities in modern India; and what food can tell us about the Indian community in contemporary England. The author concludes with an interesting discussion of the social meaning of “ethnic food” in western contexts.

After reading the article, let’s discuss the role of food in the formation, and more importantly in stereotyping of ethnic identity. Please share your understanding and thoughts of the following questions in the forum discussion.

First, post your understanding and thoughts

  1. Narayan said “the culinary products of the colonies had different symbolic meaning at dinner tables in England than they did at English dinner tables in the colonies.” What are these differences?
  2. What is your understanding of the relationship between food and political and religious animosity in modern India?
  3. Do you agree with Narayan’s reflection on ethnic food in the western context?
  4. What is the meaning of ethnic food in your opinion?
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