Food forms an important aspect in culture building. When we talk of the culture of a particular place or a region, apart from the society, its practices and traditions, we never miss to mention food as an integral part of the conversation. The history and culture of a place has a profound impact on the culinary tastes of the people . Prosenjit Paul comments, “Well,the British exiled Wajid Ali Shah to Kolkata from Lucknow! And he brought his cooks who introduced Lucknow Biriyani to Kolkata. And due to paucity of funds, and availability of cheap potatoes, the present day Kolkata biriyani was born! Now exiled Bongs clamour for Calcutta style Biriyanis wherever they go in this world, and eateries/chains like Calcutta Kitchen (Delhi)/Calcutta Cabin (Bangalore)/Calcutta Street in London and many more!!” However, often food and culture are seen as different entities. According to Prantik Sengupta, “The cultural ethos and history of a place is not influenced by the gastronomic habits and preferences of the people, because both are distinct entities and neither depend upon the other for existence.” This is a debate which can go on forever like the age-old question of Who came first The Egg or the Hen?Whether food and culture are related or not is for you to opine. But to assist you in opinion building, Swad Sanskriti would be launching its innovative concept.
It will be inaugurated by The Hon’ble Minister of Culture, Government of India Dr Mahesh Sharma Organised by The Food and Beverage Buzz magazine. Swad Sanskriti, is a celebration of food, culture and philosophy. It will be held on the 26th of November 2017 at The Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar (Saphire 1&2), New Delhi from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Curated by Dr Ashish Chopra, well-known culinary historian, TV Host, Author and Senior Consulting Editor of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine, Swad Sanskriti as the event will look into exploring the wisdom of our cultural philosophy through food that has shaped Indian history and which today has become the identification factor for us Indians. As Paroma Sengupta opines, “History and culture affects the food of a place. For instance, if there are Parsi settlers in a particular place then the food in that area will have a Parsi influence. Similarly, Mughals in a particular place means Mughlai food.” Rimbik Das focuses that “both [culture and food] can work simultaneously”, influencing each other throughout its evolution. From time immemorial it has been stated that without exploring and discovering the past, the future cannot be successfully harnessed. Thus, Mr Pawan Agrawal, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Media Private Limited, that publishes Food and Beverage Buzz, says, “Understanding our past is imperative to understand our present food habits. So, how do we come to an elaborate understanding of our cultural habits? These are some of the questions that we will look at exploring through these events.”
Destined to be one of the first conclaves of many to come, Swad Sanskriti will host the theme of Cultural Gastronomy and Diversity in its first chapter. It will explore the diversity and unity of Indian Food and how its influence has helped develop and evolve Indian culture. To discuss some key issues that pertain to Indian culinary heritage, Swad Sanskriti will bring together eminent stalwarts from various food verticals including Chefs, Hoteliers, Restaurateurs, Food Historians, Anthropologists, Researchers, FMCG, food packaging industry, representatives from the Dairy companies, E-retailers and Food app companies among others. Shuvam Manna says that, “Food is definitely an influence on the history and culture of the place and vice versa. There’s the notion of how people who love to eat are content with their food and peace-loving, thus the diverse the cuisine is, the better the chance of a place to maintain peace. Next how cuisine is AN integral part of a culture of a place, and so if the food had not been good, the place would’ve had a bad reputation among foodies, thus hampering tourism, even if that’s to a small extent.” This proves that food as a subject or research in an interdisciplinary one. All other disciplines like history, geography, logic, philosophy, psychology goes into the thought process behind the food of every region. Each dish has an associated history with its inception and evolution. Rummaging through the past would give answer to numerous such questions which would lead us to rediscover our culinary preferences in contemporary times Vis-a Vis their older versions.
The advisory board of Swad Sanskriti includes eminent personas from the field of culinary studies, history and culture. Some of the members are, SK Misra, IAS (retd.), Chairperson, Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development, Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman (Maharaja, state of Tripura), Pramoda Devi Wadiyar (Rajmata, Royal family of Mysuru),Pushpraj Singh (Maharaja, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh),Jose Dominic, CEO, CGH Earth Group, Rakesh Mathur (Former President, Welcom Heritage by ITC group), Sanjeev Pahwa (Sr. Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group),Chef Rakesh Sethi, Corporate Executive Chef, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Steve Borgia, Chairman & Managing Director of INDeco Leisure Hotels, B.R. Oberoi aka Diamond Oberoi (Chairman, Elgin Hotels), Pritha Sen (Food Anthropologist) and Dr Pushpesh Pant (Food Historian & Critic).
Ms Urvashi Jaahnvi Agrawal, Editor-in-Chief of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine says, ““Swad Sanskriti isn’t just about discovering the culture of food and taste, it is a platform to bring together food lovers and those who are always excited about experimenting with different combination of ingredients.” If you are a patron of good food and would love to discover its evolution and future along with playing with new flavours and ingredients, then Swad Sanskriti is the event to look forward to. There is no better way to strike a conversation with people than the one happening over food. You can check out their official website for more details on Swad Sankriti.
Photographs Courtesy: Swad Sanskriti