Calcutta On Your Plate – Nilosree Biswas
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What is known as Kolkata’s food today has its backstory embedded in 250 years of political, social and cultural history—a fascinating testimony of self-fashioned Bengali baboos, whose aspirations pushed the boundaries of Bengal’s traditional gastronomy, resulting in a new food universe.
From the private kitchens of an exiled king and the homes of a handful of upper-class Bengalis, how some dishes became so popular is a thrilling story of taste, smell and savouring. To think that some of today’s signature dishes such as dum biriyani, kebabs, fish chops, kabirajis, cutlets, kathi rolls and Mughlai paratha were once exclusive to those who had access to the ingredients or for whom it was their ‘home food’, is perhaps overwhelming at some level.
With influences of mostly two cooking styles—the English and the Mughlai-Awadhi, aided by contributions of the Portuguese and a pre-existing food habit from the medieval times, Calcutta’s foodscape underwent a sea change, impacting people’s lives, food habits, food procurement and the ways of social engagement. Calcutta on Your Plate touches upon this incredible journey of tastes, innovations, acceptance, indulgences and celebrations.
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