Digesting India: A Travel Writer’s Sub-Continental Adventures With The Tummy
- Author: Zac O'yeah
- Publisher: Speaking Tiger
- ISBN: 9789354475061
Digesting India is a wildly entertaining and informative adventure through the landscapes of Indian culinary art, as explored by Zac O’Yeah, a Scandinavian-origin Indian novelist with a readiness to stomach anything and everything that grows or walks on earth. Well, almost. This book combines the three things that O’Yeah loves most about life—eating, drinking and travelling—in a delightful romp based on thirty years of trying to understand India through its food culture.
This fast-paced story of a traveller’s untiring quest for new cultural and culinary experiences is as intriguing as it is profound, and you might say it captures India in a nutshell—a very big, coconut-sized one. Here we learn about dishes that we may never have heard of, and food habits we never knew existed, such as when we accompany O’Yeah on a ‘spareparts’ tour that begins in Shivajinagar, the slaughterhouse area of Bengaluru. As we follow him on a winding journey through India, he takes us through the pleasures of drinking beer in Bengaluru (slang for ‘beer galore’), toddy in Kerala, and eating boiled vegetables and masala-less curries in Sevagram, the Mahatma’s ashram in Maharashtra, to prepare him for the rich red ‘lal maas’ in royal Rajasthan. He discovers Goa’s literati culture sipping cashew fenny with Nobel laureate Orhan Pahmuk and Amitav Ghosh, finds two of his favourite foods—mushrooms and cheese—in Bhutan’s ‘shamudatsi’, and, in a delightful digression, finds out—while still on earth—what astronauts eat, and more importantly, drink, in outer space.
Digesting India is a rollicking read—a multi-course meal full of happy discoveries. Read it as vicarious fun in your armchair, carry it as an inspiring travel companion, or use it to impress your friends with thousands of interesting, surprising facts about local foods and the many places they come from.