‘What’s Cooking?’- Cookery and Creativity in The Mistress of Spices, Serving Crazy with Curry and Book of Rachel
Rajyashree Khushu-Lahiri and Shweta Rao
Abstract: The staggering amount of fiction written on food lately has brought kitchen activity out of the undercover of domesticity and, as a result. food and fiction on food is becoming a high art form. We propose to intervene critically and probe into the politics of representation governing this literary genre. We have two propositions in the paper; first’ fictionalising food is a part of feminist narrative, wherein essentially women’s experiences (physical, psychological and social life within the domestic domain allotted to them by patriarchal/matriarchal conventions) acquire their due literary space. Second, depiction of food in contemporary women’s writings serves a number of purposes, the most crucial being self– referentiality. Writers consciously bestow upon food images the dual role of underscoring their indigenous cultural ethos as well as of validating their identity as creative writers. The written text becomes analogous to the food prepared through culinary endeavours within the text. Thus, food gains I metonymic dimension and cookery is exalted to the echelon of creative writing. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices (1997), Amulya Malladi’s Serving Crazy with Curry (2004) and Esther David’s Book of Rachel (2006) are fictions on food that interrogate and negotiate the ethnic, sexual and creative identities of the protagonists and their creators.
View Full Text
Published in Fall 2009