Dig into Bengal's culinary scene with Jayabrato Chatterjee's latest book

8 months ago | 16-07-2016 | IBNS

Kolkata, Jul 15 : Don't look for recipes, don't look for history of food. This is a book that will tell you through diverse anecdotes - myths and facts - about Bengal's unique culinary evolution, said Rita Bhimani as she began the discussion at the launch of Cooking up Culinary Adventures authored by Jayabrato Chatterjee. The book launch was held on Wednesday at the Starmark store at South City Mall in Kolkata.

Presented by Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman of Ambuja Neotia Group, Cooking up Culinary Adventures is the crystallisation of more than a years research by Jayabrato Chatterjee. Almost a year and half back, Jay-da had come to me with the idea, and it immediately struck a chord, said Neotia.

Although Neotia admitted that he preferred home-cooked food over dinner outside, Bhimani promptly reminded the gathering that it was Neotia who has been instrumental in giving Kolkata some of its best dining spaces, from Conclave to Afraa to Jhaal Farezi to The Orient and more.

{image_1}Actor and Chef Sanchayita Bhattacharjee Alam, who is often called Chef Sunshine for her pleasant demeanour, said that when she received her copy of the book, she was a trifle worried that she would be required to read a historical tome. But to her surprise, she found the book an absolute page turner. The book not only contains rich text about the evolution of the food scene in Bengal but also contains antique photographs and paintings among other things.

According to author Jayabrato Chatterjee, the culinary style of Bengal is an adaptation of food and culture of the various communities that have settled here, including the Muslim rulers. Armenians, Portuguese, French, English and the Anglo-Indians, and the Chinese to name a few.

{image_2}Cooking up Culinary Adventures provides delightful glimpses into many the mysteries that lie beneath the contribution made by the different communities how Bengals kitchen accepted and adapted the different influences. The book also highlights one of Bengals unique feature the tussle between the ghoti (people from West Bengal) and the bangal (people from erstwhile east Bengal, now Bangladesh), which extends from football to food. Interestingly, this is one tussle that has made the kitchens of Bengal richer by way of diverse dishes.

As Neotia said, The book traces the genesis of Bengals traditional food influences and rekindles the nostalgia of grandmas recipes through a rigorously researched time travel into the kitchens of its varied communities and foreign settlers.

Reporting by Uttara Gangopadhyay/IBNS

Images by Avishek Mitra/IBNS