Does the Middle Class Decide on “Good” or “Bad” Food?

Written by Nandana Bhattacharjee

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A true Bengali is one whose life seems incomplete without some deep fried ‘luchi’ and potato curry in the breakfast table. Bengalis just like many other communities of India are known for their food habits and of course for their immense good cooking.

Now, we are standing alongside with globalization, everything online and almost all types of restaurants near us. No more do we go to Darjeeling for authentic momos and to south India for dosa and uttapam.

Before talking about the so called Bengali middleclass food habit we should understand the class itself. This middle class has really gone through a lot of things. Earlier middle class families where those who had very little savings and at the end of the month there was an inevitable shortage of money. Situations have changed now, middle class have gone up the ladder and the definition of middle class has also shifted its epicenter.

Middle class is actually a very hegemonic class and has well drawn its boundaries to not let working class and people from other classes enter it. Food habit just the other daily things is going through a lot of change.

Earlier it was a delicacy for Bengalis to have food with lots of spices and oil too but how we are shifting towards a healthier food type where luchies have been replaced by cornflakes and prawn curry by grilled chicken breast.

I remember when I was very small Sunday afternoon meant good mutton curry, French fries (aloo bhaja) , dal and steaming hot rice. But now, the scenario has gone through immense change. Mutton is almost a forgotten story now in most of Bengali families.

Eating healthy is something that the world is focusing towards and middle class Bengalis has historically responded to each and every change. Looking at the lower strata of the society we can well say that they have not shifted that much in their food habit because apparently healthy food is costlier and the very rich section of the society is so less in number that what they about their food habit is unknown. Middle class just as the name suggests falls in between and have made its position well enough in this transition.

Pattern of food consumption well indicates the social class one belongs to. Researches have shown that mothers of the middle class families are more concerned with the nutritional and food value they give their children. For lower class it is primarily the cost and general family preference.

Pierre Bourdieu, had studied middle class very thoroughly and he suggested that it is actually the middle class who decides which food to be labeled as ‘bad’ and which one as ‘good’. People from other class follow these tags and form their food habit.

Something that can be well concluded is that food habit is not a subjective choice, there are actually some laid down pattern and one can do nothing but follow them. Middle class which has been a very influential class and also trend setters in certain areas have a huge impact on others food habit too.

Author Bio: Nandana Bhattacharjee is a student of Presidency University, Kolkata. She is in her final year of under graduation, with sociology major. In her first year she had done a summer internship with Hope Foundation, Kolkata. Being primarily interested in gender studies she is to work on ‘gender and body image’ for her upcoming dissertation.

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Top 10 Lip-smacking Bengali Dishes that will make you crave for more

[Cover Picture Courtesy: Aaheli – Authentic Bengali Cuisine Restaurant]


Written by Ujjayini Pal on March 22, 2016

Bengalis have a love for various types of things. Among them intellect and food go hand in hand. At some point of time or the other, every Bengali must have tasted various dishes made by their mother or grandmother. Some tastes heavenly and lingers in your memory for long while others just fade away. Here are ten such dishes which may not be prepared in every household daily, but are a must try.

1. Luchi

This is the most popular Bengali dish and is a form of the popular dish ‘puri.’ A Bengali breakfast is incomplete without a plate of hot, deep fried and fluffy luchi. Like puri they are also made with maida, but there is a light golden color of luchis. Luchis tastes best when served with dry, spicy veggies or gravies.

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2. Aloor torkari or Aloor Dum

You are sure to forget any other type of curry if you once taste a spicy bowl of aloor torkari or aloor dum. This is the most popular Bengali dish and makes the perfect combo with luchi. These two dishes together make a grand breakfast at the time of the Durga Pujas.

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3. Cholar Dal

This is a typical Bengali dish made with channa dal and is a hot favorite of every bong with luchi once again. The dal tastes slightly sweet and also bears a mouth watering fragrance due to the use of rich spices such as cinnamon and bay leaf while preparing it. Bits of coconut are also added to give a delicious taste and a crunchy texture to the dal.

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4. Shukto

After breakfast, it’s time for the main course and you just can’t think of starting your lunch without shukto. This is also an authentic Bengali dish and is also considered to be very healthy. It is prepared with bitter gourd, brinjals, crunchy drumsticks, sweet potatoes and last but not the least bori. Some fresh, grounded spices and a little milk are also added to it to create a paste like gravy.

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5. Aloo Potol Posto

This is a light and quick yet tasty preparation. Potol or Pointed Gourd is mixed with coconut puree and thick poppy seed. Green and red chillies are also added to give a rich taste to the preparation. It tastes best when served hot with rice.

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6. Lau Chingri

This dish is a lip smacking combination of prawn and bottle gourd which will please you like anything. This dish makes its visit in every Bengali household once in a while but tastes heavenly if cooked properly. Do try it today if you haven’t till date.

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7. Dhokar Dalna

This is the most famous Bengali dish and something Bengali’s are really proud of. This is a vegetarian dish and is considered the best a bong could offer if any vegetarian visit’s their home. Lentil cakes are cut into diamond shape and are cooked in a tasty curry.

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 Also Read: ‪‪5 Everyday Struggles only a Bengali Girl can relate to

8. Tangra Macher Jhal

Bongs are a great lover of fish and this tasty catfish curry is a big hit among Bengali’s. The gravy is full of flavors, thick and is made with spices that are grounded freshly. Some red chillies are added to this to give it a fiery taste. It tastes best when served with steaming hot rice.

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9. Ilish Mach

You cannot spot out a single Bengali who doesn’t love hilsa fish and there are actually lots of preparations made with this hilsa fish. Hilsa cooked in rich mustard oil gives the dish a tingly taste. To add some twist, spices like fine ginger paste, Nigella seeds and chillies are added to it.

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10. Malpoa

Bengali’s can’t even survive without sweets and this is the most famous Bengali sweet made by dipping pancake in sweet saffron syrup. This mixture tastes heavenly when cardamom is added to it. This famous sweet dish tastes best when taken hot.

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Make sure to try all the 10 dishes once in your lifetime.
Did we miss something? Tell us by commenting below.

 

Women’s Day Special: 5 Everyday Struggles only a Bengali Girl can relate to

Written by Sritama Gupta on March 8, 2016

Dusky, bold big eyes, lusty black hair. Oh yes, the “not-to-be-missed” features of bong girl; but there are some serious everyday problems that only these bong beauties can relate to!

1.Your lovely “DUSKY” skin: 

Yes, our dusky skin! The sun has been too cruel to a bong girl when it comes to skin color. No matter how much we try, no matter how many beauty treatments we undergo every day, our skin seems to be too stubborn!

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2.Getting out with your friends at night & your parents come to know! 

No bong girl can deny this fact that they dint receive a good “trashing” from her parents whenever she tried to have fun with her buddies at night (trust me, I am a bong as well I can relate your pain). Your scolding terms comprises of:

  • “ASSOVYOTAMOR SEEMA ACHE”
  • “RATE BAIRE ‘OROM’ ME RA BEROYE!! TUMI OROM HOTE CHAO”
  • AND last but not the least. “AJ KAL NIJER DECISION NIJE E NAO, JIGYASA KENO KORCHO, KICHU HOLE BOLTE ESO NA”

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    3. Your parents come to know you have a bf:

    “TUMI CHELE DER SATHE GHURE BEROCHHO?? ASSOVYO ME.” This is followed by a round table conference comprising of every one of your family & sometimes those relatives whom you didn’t see in your life time.


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    4. Educational qualification:

    “TOMAR Meye B.A PASS??  Amar Meye M.Tech PASS”……uff parents love to brag about this fact how much educated their daughter is & this is how we choose our qualifications at times, to increase our social status!

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    5. ARRANGE MARRIAGE PROPOSALS

    And last but not the least (For all those marriageable bong beauties out there) You can escape an electric shock even after standing on a bare wire but not a series of arrange marriage proposals brought in by your parents & “Kind relatives”.You come back home to find an unknown guy with his family sitting, talking about marrying you! You are forced to show decency even after you wanna place a B.P.L (BUMP PE LAATH) on his ass! But our family just wants us to be settled asap & have “tena-ponas”, oh how “not sweet”!!

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These are only a few problems that bong girls can relate as far I can remember. Did I miss something? Tell me by commenting below.

(Image Courtesy : Google Images)