Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Food bloggers choice

Kenneth Lobo of Indian Express wrote to ask me

"We've recently had a couple of "celebrity" blogs, LK Advani, Amitabh Bachchan and the like. I wanted to know if there was one person who you would like to see blog, who would it be? And why? It could be straightforward, over the top, witty, anything you like. In about 50 - 100 words. The catch, as always, is that I need it by tonight."

The question had me thinking. My reply didn't make it in time, but here it is

"Dear Kenneth,

To answer your question, as a gastronomy
writer, I have always been fascinated with the food that is on the plate of everyday Indians. But even more so I love delving in to the culinary history of that food; the migration and immigration of cuisines, sub cuisines, trends and ingredients.

So if you asked me who I would love to read the blog off?

I think I would love to read the blogs of some of Indians historic gourmands.

For example I think it would be fascinating to read the thoughts that went through Bhim the Pandava's mind while employed as the cook in King Virat's kitchen.

And as I read the Manasollasa which has a chapter entirely devoted to celebrating food and was written by King Someshwara, a king who reigned over central India in the first half of the 12th century, I keep thinking what an interesting blog this royal gourmand would write.

And imagine what rich reading Ibn Batuta would offer in a blog about the food he encountered on his travels. He recounts a regal repast in the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

And then there are the Mughal years, a veritable age of culinary renaissance, when so many food lovers took wing, Amir Khusro, would offer a food blog that could throw light on the culinary history of so many dynasties. And Abul Fazal author of the Ain-e-Akbari would offer delectable details of the delicacies served in Akbar's kitchens, or Maulana Rashidul Khairi would would detail the richness of Bahadur Shah Zafar's dastarkhwan.

In contemporary times I would love to be a fly on the wall via a blog and observe Claudia Roden (author of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food amongst others) as she goes about her research for her books. I am told she wanders around villages in the Mediterranean, asking for the best cooks in the area and writing down their recipes. What an adventure that would be!

Here is Kenneth's final story

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