Micro review: ‘Desi Delicacies: Food Writing from Muslim South Asia’

It is often said that food has the power to bring people and cultures together. ‘Desi Delicacies: Food Writing from Muslim South Asia’, a new anthology of food writing, aims at bringing recipes and stories– both popular and unknown– from the Muslim South Asia to readers across the world.

‘Desi Delicacies’ is a collection of essays, stories and recipes written by various contributors including Nadeem Aslam, Rana Safvi, Tabish Khair, Annie Zaidi, Sarvat Hasin, Tarana Husain Khan, Sadaf Hussain, Rosie Dastgir among others. The book is edited by Claire Chambers, Professor of Global Literature- University of York, and it highlights how food is interwined with social life and politics in the Indian subcontinent. For instance in ‘Cows Come Home’, Annie Zaidi writes a story about beef-lynching. The book isn’t too political as it also focuses on food heritage, family bonding and memories about food. For example: Rana Safvi writes about the Awadhi cuisine’s history and how qormas originated or Sadaf Hussain tells the story behind how samosas started being paired with chai.

While giving a glimpse of the food culture of Muslims in South Asia, the book also tries to clarify some common myths about Muslim food– like it is mainy just biryani and kababs. This anthology is written by some of the most popular historians, chefs and writers from South Asia which makes it an interesting read.

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