Food has been a very important component of lives in this earth regardless of the nature of the organism consuming it. Hunger is common for all organisms and in some species, new borns are born with the skills to squander for food immediately after birth. Food has been interspersed with culture from time unknown. Food also intersperses with society and individualistic ethnic practices across the world. Tamilians do have a very ripe culinary history and it becomes important for anthropologists and social learners across the world to know about the culinary practices of one of the most ancient and diverse cultures in the world.

I was reading about Tamil food as I am interested in cooking. However, whatever I found, gave me the ingredients and recipes but no history. That’s when I found this book and few more books by Prof.Bhaktavatsala Bharathi on Tamil anthropology. History inspires me. I haven’t yet any of his books completely, but was impressed with the details provided in the books. Presently reading Tamizhar Unavu – An anthropological chronicle written by Professor Bhaktavatsala Bharathi, who works for Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics & Culture (PILC).

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This is a compilation of articles that were published in Kalachuvadu issue on September 2005 along with requested articles from eminent writers from Tamilnadu. Writers as diverse as Perumal Murugan, Po.Velsamy, Naanchil Naadan, Solai.Sundara Perumal, Pazhamalai, Melanmai Ponnusaami, Kazhaniyooraan, A.Muthulingam, and Shyamala Gowri have contributed to this book. This is just a partial list. The complete list includes few more eminent writers in Tamil.

The book also includes a foreword by Bhaktavatsala Bharathi which is very informative. Starting from age old practices of food consumption to the most recent invasion of the food industry by Mansanto, the historians and writers have given a wonderful account of Tamil culture. In fact, I should say, when I complete this book, I will opt for Tamilian cuisine anytime rather than the fried and fast foods offered by American restaurants and food chains. The cuisine and the culture and the society are intermingled and this has been analysed geographically and anthropologically. It is a book worth reading.

Try it – It costs INR 250.

You can buy it here – தமிழர் உணவு.

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