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Life and Food in Bengal

Banerji’s first book was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1991. Tracing the Bengali seasons, from the long, hot days of spring and summer through the joy of the first rains of the monsoon followed by the terror of ruinous floods, on to the golden harvest of autumn and finally to the delicious coolness of the tropical winter, the author presents a panoramic view of the food, festivals, and rituals of Bengali life. Intimate and evocative, Life and Food in Bengal is a rich narrative full of anecdotes, folklore, history, literary references, and, of course, classic Bengali recipes.


Life and Food in Bengal
Weidenfeld & Nicolson


 “The delightful Life and Food in Bengal…evokes, not just describes, the colour, the smells, the tastes, the customs of Bengali food…. This is the first book on Indian food that has made me want to try to cook it.”
— Matthew Fort, The Guardian

“A loving tribute to her homeland and more particularly to its kitchen.”
— Frances Bissell, The Times

“Banerji’s skills and interests extend far beyond the kitchen. She blends anthropology, history, geography, gastronomy and fiction, forming a lasting record of lifestyles that are already disappearing, at the same time completely beguiling the reader with her eloquent enthusiasm.”
— Sue Earle, The Far Eastern Economic Review

“At one level this is the complete Bengali cookbook with a cascade of recipes that beg to be tried. But it is not for the recipes alone that the book needs to be read. Banerji’s writing is so fine and her enthusiasm for Bengal so infectious that she is capable of directing even the most cynical towards going to Bengal and trying out its food.”
— Ravi Vyas, The Telegraph

“Chitrita Banerji gives her readers a keen appetite for the subtle flavours of India’s most interesting region.”
— Paul Levy


Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals


An abridged and updated edition of Life and Food in Bengal

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 “Seldom has a book presented such a full-blown and lush awareness of the complex relationships between food and culture.”
— Deborah Madison (Foreword to the book)