Devotee and chronicler of South Asian cuisine

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Indian Cuisine.

Edited by Colleen Taylor Sen, Sourish Bhattacharyya & Helen Saberi
To be published by Bloomsbury Press, Spring 2023

This reference work covers the cuisine and foodways of India in all their diversity and complexity, including regions, personalities, street foods, communities and topics that have been often neglected. The book starts with an overview essay situating the Great Indian Table in relation to its geography, history and agriculture, followed by alphabetically organized entries. The entries, which are between 150 and 1,500 words long, combine facts with history, anecdotes, and legends. They are supplemented by longer entries on key topics such as regional cuisines, spice mixtures, food and medicine, rites of passages, cooking methods, rice, sweets, tea, drinks (alcoholic and soft) and the Indian diaspora. This comprehensive volume illuminates contemporary Indian cooking and cuisine in tradition and practice


‘Compiled by three masters of Indian food, this handbook confidently ranges from appam to vindaloo, and K.T. Achaya to Wyvern. It contains the wide-ranging cuisines of over a billion people, with a long history, who speak over 20,000 dialects. This handbook richly illustrates the multiplicity of Indian cuisines in theory and in practice.’ Krishnendu Ray, Associate Professor, Food Studies, NewYork University USA

‘A definitive and indispensable guide to Indian cuisine! The entries cover indigenous and “imported” ingredients, diverse cooking styles across states and communities and important personalities who have established Indian food globally. The book celebrates Indian traditions and festivals while looking at trends and changes at the Indian table. The authors have a deep understanding of Indian cuisine, and have also incorporated the writings of eminent food writers, making this book a comprehensive encyclopaedia of Indian cuisine.’ Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, India


Ashoka and the Maurya Dynasty: The History and Legacy of Ancient India’s Greatest Empire

Published by Reaktion Books Unit 32, Waterside 44-48 Wharf Road London N1 7UX @reaktionbooks

At its peak in 250 BCE the Maurya Empire was the wealthiest and largest empire in the world, extending across much of modern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book explores the life, achievements and legacy of the Maurya emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest leaders in Indian history. The book relates how, after a bloody war in 261 BCE, Ashoka renounced violence and spent the rest of his life promoting religious tolerance, animal rights, environmental protection, peace and multiculturalism – a policy he called Dhamma. This well-illustrated book explores the legacy and influence of the Mauryas in politics throughout Southeast Asia, China and India, as well as contemporary popular culture.

‘Hats off to Colleen Taylor Sen, whose Ashoka and the Maurya Dynasty is a readable and comprehensive history of the greatest empire of ancient India. Drawing on a range of sources written over a span of over 2,000 years, Sen introduces us to the rise, apogee, and fall of the dynasty, with particular attention to its most famous monarch, Ashoka. Alongside a factual narrative, she discusses Ashoka in Buddhist legend, and the legacy of the Mauryas in the Buddhist world, colonial South Asia, and modern India. A fascinating appendix tells the story of the “rediscovery” of the long-forgotten historical Mauryas in the 19th and 20th centuries.’ – John E. McLeod, Professor of History, University of Louisville In Ashoka and the Maurya Dynasty, Colleen Taylor Sen has given us a highly readable and engaging encounter with ancient India’s greatest dynasty, the Mauryas. Her account is rooted in the most recent scholarship, but her attention to the complexities of Mauryan historiography does not detract from her storytelling. The result is a vivid chronicle of one of the world’s most remarkable political formations. The reader is taken from remotest South Asian antiquity, through the founding of the Mauryan dynasty, to its apogee under the famous Aśoka and his policy of rule by righteousness (dhamma), and then through the decline of the empire and the ongoing legacy of Mauryas in Asia and beyond.’ – Mark McClish, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Northwestern University


About Colleen


Colleen Sen has studied and enjoyed South Asian cuisine for years, sharing her understanding, insights and appreciation of Indian food culture with readers and audiences around the world.

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