Monday, August 24, 2009

Transactions in Taste

About a couple of months back I was approached by a graphic designer named Pinaki De for using one of the photos I had taken more than a year back at my mashi's house in Chittaranjan for a book cover. (I was making Ilish Machher Kolapaturi and had run to fetch my camera and take a photo of the grand affair.)

The book will be coming out by the end of this month and I will be getting one of the copies. Here are some of the details:

Title: Transactions in Taste
Publisher: Routledge India.
Subtitle: The Collaborative Lives of Everyday Bengali Food
Author’s Name: Manpreet K. Janeja

"This book asks how and why food is pivotal to social relations and forms of identity that emerge as normal and not-normal. It does so by describing the production, consumption, distribution, and disposal of ‘normal Bengali food’ in middle-class households that employ cooks from poor classes, and in Bengali restaurants, in contemporary Calcutta (India) and Dhaka (Bangladesh). It thereby analyses the constant and fraught negotiations that feed into definitions of normality, the middle-classes vis-à-vis the poor, and Bengaliness, in the deeply intimate yet intensely public domain of food. Food transactions thus provide a window into shifting configurations of trust, power, and conflict integral to social relationships, shaped by events such as the 1943–44 Bengal famine, the 1947 partition of India, and the 1971 Bangladesh War. In a rare comparative foray into Bengali Hindu and Muslim food-ways on both sides of the border, the book includes addas (‘idle-talk’) and interviews with both men and women. It initiates a dialogue that links issues of agency, place, hospitality, and ownership with a new field that places food as an ‘artefact’ at the centre of its inquiry. It invites the reader throughout to approach food afresh, as the key that unlocks the complexities of what is mundane yet profound — the everyday. Food transactions have a centrality to any analysis of poverty, inequality, and hunger."

I have the cover design too but cannot publish it here because the book is not out yet. May be I will once it is. I am happy :)


  1. whoaaa!! well done boss!!!bloody amazing!!

  2. congrats! the photo is very nice!

    ar tui erokom bulk e ilish macch banate parish? double congrats!

  3. saptarshi, you make me proud and happy, as always. the picture is just amazing. congratulations, re.

  4. wow. this is beyond amazing. i love you! -purba

  5. Awesome! Pinaki De's a good contact to have.

  6. To say WooHoo is an insult to this INCREDIBLE news!!! I am GLAD!!!

  7. congrats!!! this is such a FANTASTIC photo!!
    tokei biye korbo salla :P

  8. Thank you everyone! :) I am more overwhelmed by the love than by anything else, to be honest :)

  9. Hey, was looking up Dr Janeja online and chanced upon your blog! Nice to see you excited about the book, and also to know the story behind the picture. I did enjoy editing it. Pallavi

  10. I saw this picture first in your DA account and absolutely loved it :) Congrats!