Ranjabati Basu

Sometimes I feel like what unites all Bengalis without exception is their family quota of gastric disorders. It is absolutely impossible to ignore and separate a Bengali human being from their obsession with food. We will calmly gulp down two spoonfuls of the baby pink Gelusil and proceed with our (rather unhealthy, I must say) ingestion routine. It seems rather hilarious to me, that 80% of a Bengali’s income, and time, is washed away behind the perfect cut of the gorgeous Hilsa.
The same reason has led to the birth of an impossibly large range and variety of gastronomic delights inside of the Bengali cuisine. Our cravings range from the extremely pocket friendly variants like luchi-aloo’r dum-ghoogni, aloo’r chop, jhaal muri, phuchka to the extravagant preparations of mocha’r ghonto, aloo posto, daab chingri, rohu kalia and ending with the famous rosogolla, mishti doi, paayesh, among an endless list of items.
The Bengali recipes of each individual family (with a clear and strong rivalry between the Ghotis and Bangals, each represented by the chingri and ilish respectively) for a dish of a single name are much more fiercely guarded than the 11 secret herbs and spices used in the popular KFC franchise, you could say.
In the recent past, due to fast moving lives, lack of available time and energy certain dishes are increasingly becoming extinct from the everyday Bengali household. It is certainly very alarming, but this as a consequence has opened up the avenue for authentic Bengali food joints, such as Bhojohori Manna, Tero Parbon to flourish among Bengalis from the state itself.

It is apparent that a Bengali's love affair with food is eternal, and this art shall travel through the generations to come.


Ranjabati Basu

August 2016

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