Food and Culture in Northeast India: The Culinary Tradition
Food, more than a material substance is also a cultural expression handed down from generations to generations. In most societies, the older people pass on their knowledge of food and what constitutes “healthy or good” food to their new members. In this sense, the idea of food also marks a society’s relation with the larger environment- human and biotic. But, food also defines what is “within” from what is “without,” so that culinary skills, inherited through years of practice could be transferred to those who make up the members of a legitimate community. Unfortunately, many of the food secrets have been also passed on to big “food joints,” which means that the ingredients that would make such food is a commercial reserve of billion dollar corporations, who ceaselessly continue to exploit the remote regions of the earth for delicacies. Such trespassing, at the behest of Capital has become a major disorientating factor of globalization. Such a tendency is also evident in most northeastern states, where tribal cultures of food have not been reported to the mainstream national media at all or only reported with gross misinformation. Sometimes, these are just referred to as “vague,” “uncivilized” and even “barbaric.” Nonetheless, like other cultures, the food prepared here by the locals of northeast India, like in other civilizations and cultures not only define a society’s interactive dynamics with its stakeholders but also with the environment, which is being mauled in the name of progress. At risk is also the rich medicinal value of most food, many of which the locals say are prepared to ward of health emergencies as “high blood pressure” or “diabetics.” In fact, medical report suggests that the tribal of northeast India has very less incidence of “stroke” because of the food they consume or the way they consume it. So, there is a need of preserving a society’s knowledge of food, especially from the Northeast India, not only for its rich value for health but to safeguard the regions’ unique contribution to India’s culinary culture. It is also a way of bridging the gap that exists in perception between the mainstream and the boundary and could be one way towards a much needed hybrid.
In this regard, the editor seeks original, unpublished articles from food enthusiasts, social scientists, culinary experts and research workers in about 6000 to 7000 words in APA format for an edited volume of essays with ISBN number to be published by Damdama College, Guwahati. 781012, Assam. The last day of submission of full articles is November 30.
All articles would go through a double blind peer review process. Writers are strongly requested to adhere to the “anti-plagiarism” mandate and submit a “plagiarism checked” report along with the article. Articles should have pictures. All articles may be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference will be given to articles that document the food making process. For general queries and submissions, feel free to get in touch with the editor:
Dr Saurav Sengupta
Assistant Professor of English, Damdama College, Guwahati-781012. at: email@example.com