professional personnel across India increasing numbers of middle class fami

Professional personnel across india increasing

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professional personnel across India, increasing numbers of middle-class fami- lies find themselves in cities that harbor others like themselves, who are far from their native regions. This spatially mobile class of professionals, along with their more stable class peers in the cities and towns of India, creates a small but important class of consumers characterized by its multiethnic, multicaste, polyglot, and Westernized tastes. This class is linked in particular towns by a networkof clubs, social committees, children's schools, cookery classes, and residential preferences.They are nationally linked by theirtastes in magazines, clothing, film, and music, and by their interpersonal networks in many cities. Though this class has some very wealthy persons in it, along with some who can barely afford to belong to it, its core consists of govern- ment servants, middle-rung professionals, owners of medium-sized busi- nesses, and middle-rank corporate employees. It is this class, rather than the sophisticated super-elites of Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, and a few other cities, that is constructing a new middle-class ideology and consumption style for India, which cuts across older ethnic, regional, and caste boundaries. Cookbooks are an important part of the female world of this growing urban middle class. The interplay of regional inflection and national standardization reflectedin the new cookbooks is the central preoccupation of this essay. It represents the culinary expression of a dynamic that is at the heart of the cultural formation of this new middle class. Cookbooksallow women from one group to explore the tastes of another,just as cookbooks allow women from one group to be represented to another. In the social interaction that characterizes these urbanmiddle-class fami- lies, women verbally exchange recipes with one another across regional boundaries and are eager to experiment with them. The oral exchange of recipes is, from the technical point of view, the elementary process that underlies the production of these cookbooks. In many of the introductions to This content downloaded by the authorized user from on Wed, 14 Nov 2012 02:34:26 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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NATIONAL CUISINE: COOKBOOKS IN INDIA these cookbooks, the authors thank women they have known in various met- ropolitan contexts for sharingrecipes and skills. In some cases, it is possible to discern a progression from orally exchanged recipes to full-fledged ethnic or "Indian" cookbooks. The terseness of many of the recipes in the new cookbooks may testify to the fact that they are intended only as references and aids in a largely oral form of urban interaction. But the exchange of recipes also has other implications, for it is frequently the first stage in a process that leads to carefully controlled interethnic dining.
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