Reviews of Food Culture in India

Sen expresses her surprise at realizing that no ‘comprehensive overview of the cuisine of India’ preceded her book. Her book now makes a noteworthy beginning…

Sen deals well throughout with variables of caste in different regions. But her major contribution may be in her coverage of the uses of herbs and spices, the preventive and therapeutic motions about them, and the myriad ways in which they enter cooked dishes differently.  Sen offers a detailed inventory and a table profiling their uses in different regions, dishes, and cooking mediums.


Not a cookbook but an invaluable source of the ‘why’ of Indian cooking is Colleen Taylor Sen’s Food Culture in India….Sen does an admirable job sketching out the history of India and its myriad food cultures. She manages to remain clear and accessible while trying not to overlook any one region, ethnicity or economic class. Dishes or foods that may seem strange or unfamiliar to the average American reader suddenly make sense when placed in the broader societal and historical context. Ingredients are explained, cooking techniques explored, everyday and holiday eating defined.  . . .. This is a work that belongs in the kitchen library of any serious lover or preparer of Indian foods.

Chicago Tribune

[A] timely work given the increasing interest in the culinary culture of South Asia, and of Indian cuisine in particular. Wide in scope and in ambition, this descriptively rich book constructs a panoramic view of the culinary world of the subcontinent . . . . Sen’s work is significant given that the culinary and gastronomic culture of the subcontinent is remarkably complex, comprising countless regionally differentiated cuisines and gastronomic genres, which she presents in a digestible manner…The book is full of fascinating details about dishes that Indians take for granted as part of their heritage but never think to inquire about . . . . invaluable.
Contemporary South Asia

[A] well researched and truly fascinating look at the culture, foods and their origins all  over the sub continent, broken down by region  . . .  definitely one for the shelves to come  back to time and again.
Menu Magazine