Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals is a reprint of Chitrita Banerji’s original work, Life and Food in Bengal, published in 1991, abridged and republished with the current title in 1997. Given that the book was written and published decades before food writing became en vogue in India, it was clearly way ahead of its times. It is only fitting that this gem of a book be resurrected for current and future generations of readers and food enthusiasts.
The book follows the cuisine of Bengal—both West Bengal and erstwhile East Bengal or Bangladesh—over the four seasons of the Hindu calendar, beginning with spring, the traditional new year for several cultures across India and the world, the book winds through the streets and highways of summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. Before hipsters made seasonal eating cool, there was the traditional logic of eating according to seasonally available food. This logic has been brought to bear upon the text.
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