The Eternal Food: Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists

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Ravindra S. Khare
SUNY Press, Jan 1, 1992 - Religion - 273 pages
The interdisciplinary approaches presented here investigate food in India and Sri Lanka for its wide ranging cultural meaning and uses. The authors examine food in religious and literary contexts, where saints, ritualists, poets, and the divine often provide grounds for a practically inexhaustible hermeneutics.

The Eternal Food focuses on reflexive cultural expressions and personal experiences that food elicits in the region. Concerned with food as an "essence" and as an essential experience, the authors give special attention to Hindu saints for whom food, firmly grounded in moral ideals and practice, represents a cosmic divine principle at one level, and a most immediate and intimate material reality at another.

In the cultural diversity of India, the authors work with several conceptual models and meanings of food. They demonstrate how it reflects common social understandings about social caste, the cure and prevention of ailments, its ability to alter moods and motivations, or affect innate personal dispositions, personal spiritual pursuits and attainments. In its sweep and depth, food presents a powerful cultural lens for seeing how practical, ritual, and spiritual spheres of life conjoin.

 

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Contents

An Aspect of Hindu Gastrosemantics
27
The Anomalous Status of Dog
53
Evolution of Food Metaphor
95
Ritual Inversion
117
3 Annakuta
133
Gods Washings as Food
147
Food Essence and the Essence of Experience
179
Cultural Models Meanings
201
1 Prdna as the Wheel of Fourteen Spokes
207
Toward an Anthology of Food Images
221
1 The Hindu Food Triangle
226
5 Food Contexts
233
Glossary
251
Contributors
261
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

R. S. Khare is Professor of Anthropology and Chairman of the International Commission on Anthropology of Food at the University of Virginia.