All religions have some teachings in common. They all preach the values about leading the good life and developing courage, character and tenacity to cope with the ups and downs of life. Faith, at its best, is about giving strength and succour.
India is home to a multitude of faith systems including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism. Yet, the country remains an enigma to most foreigners. In Food and Faith, we visit Kashi, a centre of learning where young ascetics and students flocked to study with scholars, formulate their beliefs and search for the divine; the Ajmer Dargah, whose distinctive beauty is that not only it’s open to people of all faiths, it welcomes them; the Golden Temple, whose community kitchen feeds thousands of people from different faiths on an average day too. And then there is Goa too, with its layering of a Hindu past with a Mediterranean soul, of Latin beats with sitar strings, of Indian spices with European stews.
Author and columnist Shoba Narayan attempts to peel back India’s layers and explore the nation’s heart and mind. She visits many of India’s iconic places of worship, try to understand their rituals and make sense of religious polarities. In doing so, she answers a pertinent question that confronts any modern seeker of spirituality: what sustains us?
“In no other culture does faith play out in as colourful and traditional a fashion as in India. In our country’s places of worship, we find rich myths, ancient traditions, cultural touchstones and delicious food that are offered to the Gods and to humans. Food & Faith explores this rich tapestry that is the hallmark of Indian culture. I was humbled and privileged to visit many temples and talk to priests and scholars. Through their stories and through my visits, I discovered how food and faith form a timeless and profound connection.”
“We are delighted to be publishing Food and Faith. As far as book journeys go this has to be one of the most rewarding ones, a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress that reveals the beauty of belief and helps restore the reader’s own self-belief too. Helped along by food that is a gift of the gods.”
– Krishan Chopra, Publisher
“This book will transfer readers from a state of spiritual deficit to a state of fulfilling spiritual awakening. Praying is intrinsic to Indian culture and our cuisines also lend an enlightening insight into our disparate practices, societies, even histories. Food and Faith is the bridge that merges these nuances of our multiple faith systems. I would recommend the book to everyone who wants to understand, appreciate and celebrate India’s unity in diversity.”
– Ananya Borgohain, Commissioning Editor, HarperCollins Publishers India
About the Author
Shoba Narayan is an award-winning author and columnist who writes about food, travel, fashion, art and culture for publications such as Condé Nast Traveler, Financial Times, Destinasian, Gourmet, Time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Newsweek, among others. She graduated from the Columbia Journalism School with a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, awarded to the top three graduates in the class.