Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Welcome to Cooking in Calcutta

Today is Mahashtami Day, the second day of the annual Durga Puja festival in West Bengal (or, in short, Bengal), a state in India. Let this day bring joy and blessing to you, for Durga is a goddess all of Bengal (and, indeed, almost all of India) worships.

On this day of worship, I launch for you, the reader, Cooking in Calcutta, a log of musings on food and cooking -- Calcutta (rechristened "Kolkata") is the capital of Bengal. Cooking in Calcutta is an offering from a devotee who worships food and cooking. As drumbeats fill my neighborhood, I dedicate this blog to you.

I have been thinking of starting this blog (short for Weblog, as you probably know) for a while. After reading about food blogs and just a few entries of those blogs, I realize how similar food bloggers are even though they live in different continents.

I live in Kolkata, a state in the east of India (more about the history and culture of Bengal in later, I promise); yet, I discovered a moment ago, I am so similar to a popular food blogger, Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini (See the Links section on the right).

Clotilde lives in Paris, I live in Calcutta. But, like Clotilde, I am a food fanatic who loves to cook. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Like Clotilde, I
-- work in a software company
-- want to be a full-time food writer
-- want to open a restaurant someday
-- spent several years in America before returning to my home country

Isn’t this amazing? Food and cooking geeks have one giant common thread running through them.

Yet, each blog should be individual, quirky, for these are the adjectives that describe blogs best. Cooking in Calcutta is about cooking in, well, Calcutta. But, what does that really mean?

It means this blog is about something specific to Kolkata (and Bengal) and to the writer. Bengal as a region -- as I said earlier -- has its own distinctive history and culture, and that binds two Bengals, East (now called Bangladesh, a separate country) and West (West Bengal, the Indian state).

And, Bengal is about fish, mustard and rice. From the turbid waters of the Ganga come silvery fish, and on the fertile delta of the river grow yellow mustard and verdant paddy.

So, Cooking in Calcutta is about cooking with these things, but it’s also about international (or "ethnic") cuisines and drinks, for, like the bloggers, food today is truly global, and so should the coverage of food be.

So, all ye readers, from Paris to Patna, from Tampa to Timbuktu, jump onboard. Browse the words on the platter I offer you, and rant or rave. I will take all.


sharbari said...

loved your writing. mahashtami for me was rather lonely this year as my husband was away. this was the first puja we'd spent apart. reading what u'd written made me feel good.

Gini said...

I think there is a lot of familiarity in
kerala and bengali cuisine..atleast that is the impression i got from my friend who is a Bengali. Isnt there fish and coconut involved?

Anonymous said...

Really enjoy your website & recipes, as well as your stories of home. I was married for 18 years to a man from Karachi, Pakistan & I spent 8 years there, myself. I learned to cook indo-pak cuisine from eight sisters-in-laws who were all considered excellent cooks. I am American by birth with dutch-irish on mother's side and native American Indian on my father's side but I make a mean shahi biryani, I make falooda in hot summertime and don't b-b-q burgers and hot dogs. We b-b-q chicken tikka & boti kebab.Your recipes and tales of your homeland make me homesick for the smells, tastes and routine of a typical pakistani kitchen.

Avrajyoti Mitra said...

Oh nooo Angshuman! You have forgotten to mention our sweets. What's Dugga pujo without Sandesh, Rosogolla, Mishti doi and Pantua? These heavenly sweets make even the strictest diet fanatic to forget his calorie chart.

Here is haandi(earthen pot) full of virual Rosogollas for all of you, along with the warmest greetings of Bengal.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am passionate about Bengali cuisine too and I started this blog.