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Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan (Food of the Gods)

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Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan (Food of the Gods)
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Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan (Food of the Gods)

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Item Code: NAV853
Author: Varud Gupta and Devang Singh
Publisher: Penguin Random House India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9780143444626
Pages: 154 (Throughout Illustrations)
Other Details: 10.00 X 7.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.47 kg
About the Book

‘Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan takes us on an exciting journey that explores faith, cuisine and culture from across the country. With the help of beautifully captured pictures and the bonus of traditional recipes for one to try at home, this book is a homage to India’s rich culinary heritage and diversity’ —Shashi Tharoor

‘If there’s a God and He lays his hands on a copy of Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan, he would I am sure roar with laughter, working up a healthy appetite. Devang Singh and Varud Gupta play a culinary duet to perfection, with a refreshingly light touch and a sparkling sense of humour. Others have written about the Chhappan Bhog and Sacred Foods offered to gods in myriad temples across the length and breadth of this land, but most seem to groan under the burden of gravitas. None have dared to include in their researched tomes favourite foods of tribal deities—Flesh, Fish and Fowl. What a delight it is to encounter blessed delicacies that are prepared in Parsi agiaries and Jewish synagogues! The authors have led fascinating lives and are gifted with enchanting visual imagination. With a few well-chosen words, they transport us to exotic tribal homelands as well as the hallowed precincts of the legendary Jagannath temple. Absolutely unputdownable. To be dipped in ritualistically at regular intervals’—Pushpesh Pant

‘Both ambitious and unique in scope, Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan serves up a witty take on the intersection of food and faith in India, and along the way the hidden cuisines to be discovered on this spectacular journey’—Gul Panag ‘This wonderfully quirky book is a heady cocktail of culture, history and cuisine that showcases that there’s a lot more to food than what we eat’—Abish Mathew

‘An absolute masterpiece that takes you into the depths of tribal ceremonies and intimate rituals. The pictures are outstanding. And as someone who is deeply connected with the north-east, the first chapter transported me home. Eager to see what’s next on this journey!’— Chef Saby


Welcome. It's great to meet you, book-to-face. You might be standing at the store, lying in a hammock, or reading this book years from now when Earth has come to a cataclysmic yet predictable end and you're piecing together the remaining fragments of humanity with a small band of survivors, and thinking, ‘What? Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan? What's this all about?’

Well, that’s what prologues are for.

Firstly, ‘Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan’ loosely translates to ‘Food of the Gods’. Hopefully that’s a good first step towards understanding what you have in your hands. We titled it so because it’s just catchier in Hindi.

Secondly, if you're expecting a traditional cookbook then you can stop right here (or, if experiencing the third scenario, get your priorities in order). Because this book, like most of human existence, is a hotchpotch journey that can't be defined by a single genre.

Oh sorry! We skipped a step.

Let us introduce ourselves first. I-as in one half of the ‘us’, whose names are on the front cover—am Varud Gupta, the writer. The other is Devang Singh, who clicked buttons resulting in the majestic pictures that follow.

Bhagwaan ke Pakwaan began with a small idea between two foodies: how can we explore the culture and cuisine of this country without ripping off someone else's idea? And in India, there are no two more important facets of life than religion and food.

But-religion in India? That's tricky.

Especially when you consider that between the two of us, one’s a confused atheist and the other a procrastinating agnostic. So why in Goa’s name are these two people making this book? Because we swear to the God we don't believe in or the God we can't know (respectively), we were simply fascinated by the stories we came upon and decided to tell here.

Did you catch all that? Wait, don’t reply out loud. We can't hear you and people will think you're crazy. But take a moment to digest this. We have all the time in the world. Traditionally, when talking about this area of food-meets- faith, people might think of what's known as bhog, or food specifically offered to Gods—but that’s a narrow outlook and quite frankly unfair to both cuisine and religion. There's more to the picture: how faith can inform the food of a community and, surprisingly enough, how food can in turn influence faith.

The Zoroastrians have food that is prepared for the souls of the departed. In Spiti, due to a history of scarcity, some Buddhist monks still consume meat. When the Baghdaai Jews came to India, local ingredients added quirks to their kosher diet. The Temples of Odisha beat to the rhythm of chhappan bhog: fifty-six dishes prepared daily for the Lord of the Universe, Jagannath. And in the Karbi tribe, rice, especially rice beer, is the lifeblood of the community.

You are now running out of time. You've been awkwardly holding this book for too long. You're thinking, ‘Should I buy you? Are you worth my time?’

We know your time is precious, but we also know you're different from everyone else. You're edgy. Original. You want something before the masses have leeched it. Everyone has already watched Sacred Games; what do you want to do? Be a follower, or a trendsetter?

Maybe you'll learn something from this book. Perhaps try a recipe or two. Maybe you'll appreciate a culture more the next time you travel. Maybe on Tinder, your match will have a quote from this book in their bio and then—BAM!—love at first swipe. Or perhaps, if, like us, you are equally confused when it comes to faith, this could be that step forward.

Worst case, buy this book and carry it around with you. Throw on a pair of glasses. You'll immediately seem like a more interesting person. And that’s all worth it in itself, right?

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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