Preindustrial elites often displayed their political power their commercial

Preindustrial elites often displayed their political

This preview shows page 3 - 5 out of 23 pages.

Preindustrial elites often displayed their political power, their commercial reach, and their cos- mopolitan tastes by drawing in ingredients, techniques, and even cooks from far and wide. Yet these high cuisines, with their emphasis on spectacle, disguise, and display, always seek to distance themselves from their local sources. The regional idiom is here decisively subordinated to a central, culturally superior, idiom. French haute cuisine is exemplary of this type of high cuisine. In the cases of Chinaand Italy, by contrast, regional cuisines are the hautes cuisines, and no imperial or metropolitan culinary idiom really appears to have achieved hegemony, even today. In the Chinese case, to the degree thata civilizational standard has emerged, it appears to be the colorless common denominator of the complex regional variants. In Italy, at least until very recently, it appears to be impossible to speak of a high, transregional cuisine. 1 The single most important comparative treatment of cuisine from a sociological point of view is found in Goody (1982). In addition to that study, which has provided a good deal of the comparative perspective in this essay, I have also consultedthe following sources for my under- standing of non-Indian culinary traditions: Ahsan (1979); Austin (1888); Chang (1977); Cosman (1976); Forster and Ranum (1979); Furnivall (1868); Revel (1979); Roden (1972); Rodinson (1950); Root (1977); Vehling (1977). Goody (1982) contains an excellent and extensive bibliography. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.168.72.233 on Wed, 14 Nov 2012 02:34:26 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
Image of page 3

Subscribe to view the full document.

NATIONAL CUISINE: COOKBOOKS IN INDIA 5 In India, we see another sort of pattern, one that is, in some respects, unique. In this pattern the construction of a national cuisine is essentially a postindustrial, postcolonial process. But the traditionalIndian picture has some parallels with those of the other major culinary regions of the world. Like the cooking of ancient and early-medieval Europe, preindustrial China, and the precolonial Middle East, cooking in India is deeply embedded in moral and medical beliefs and prescriptions. As in the Chinese and Italian cases, the premodern culinary traditions are largely regional and ethnic. As in Ottoman Istanbul in the seventeenth century, court cuisines drew on foods and recipes from great distances (Sharar 1975). But in contrast to all these prein- dustrial cases, in India before this century, the emergence of a gustatory approach to food (that is, one that is independent of its moral and medical implications), the related textualization of the culinary realm, and the produc- tion of cookbooks seem to have been poorly developed (Khare 1976a). In the Indian case, the cuisine that is emergingtoday is a national cuisine in which regional cuisines play an important role, and the nationalcuisine does not seek to hide its regional or ethnic roots.2 Like their counterparts in Eng- land and France in the early eighteenth century, the new Indian cookbooks are fueled by the spread of print media and the cultural rise of the new middle classes. As in all the other cases,
Image of page 4
Image of page 5
  • Fall '15

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Ask Expert Tutors You can ask 0 bonus questions You can ask 0 questions (0 expire soon) You can ask 0 questions (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes