Issue 9 Food for Thought:
Food, Embodiment, and Knowledge

Homepage Intro Content

Note From The Editors

The paradox of studying food is that scholars necessarily rely on the very instruments of discourse that reify a hierarchy of the senses designed to render food unworthy of serious thought: Images and texts appeal to the “higher” sense of sight; they “figure the material as intellectual, imaginative, symbolic, aesthetic,” Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson claims (2004, 17). Reason cannot be found in the “lower” senses while eating reminds us too much of our body’s needs. But Krishnendu Ray reminds us that “much of the sociology of the body continues to be devoted to theoretical argumentation focussed on gender, sexuality, and disease, belying the sense that all social action {…} is always embodied” (2016, 26).

Read more in the Note From the Editors

Today’s Special

Rice image



Till recently, Muniappa, a ‘staffer’ from Andhra Bhawan — a cafeteria attached to South Indian state Andhra Pradesh’s official residence in New Delhi — used to avoid questions about Telengana. Earlier in 2014, the state of Telengana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh to become 29th state of the Indian Federation leading to protests. When asked, what would happen to Andhra Bhawan if Telengana comes into being, Muniappa, hailing from Nalgonda, would say ‘Andhra meal’ will remain the same. “They will have to look up to Telengana for rice. We grow the best,” says Muniappa, indifferent to the ongoing agitation that has separated 10 districts from the larger Andhra Pradesh.

Nalgonda was a focal point of the protests to demand a separate Telengana state. In 2009, when Raj Kumar in Timmapur village of Venkatapuram mandal in the neighbouring Warangal district, immolated himself to protest the arrest the agitation’s biggest leader, K Chandrasekhar Rao, people in Nalgonda rose up but violently burning down buses, shutting shops and blocking roads. Every time Rao or other leaders of the movement were arrested, Nalgonda, which can produce about 2.5 tonnes of paddy from a single – possibly the highest in country, was shut down. After the re-organization of states bill was passed by Indian parliament in February 2014, Muniappa one evening quietly tells his guests: “We do not eat this” – pointing towards the meal – “in Telengana.” Despite growing so much rice, the Telangana meal is usually dry comprising of sorghum and millet as staple diet. “Rice is mostly exported,” he adds with a grin.

Graphic image element
Graphic image element
Graphic image element
Graphic image element