Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you commune with the divine through rituals? Is it through chanting verses during festivals? Or is it a comforting routine– going to mosque, church or temple once a week or month? Is religion part of your identity? Or is it something that you seek to distance yourself from? Do you think religion is a private act to be done in the confines of home, with family, not something to declare publicly? Are these questions making you uncomfortable? These are some of the questions Shoba Narayan asks in this book.
To answer these and other questions, Shoba Narayan approaches faith through perhaps its most primal and nourishing aspect: food. She partakes of sacred food in shrines across India– Puri’s bhog, Amritsar’s langar, Palani’s panchamritam, Mathura’s pedas, Ambalapuzha’s paal-payasam, Kashi’s sweets, Jaipur’s rabdi, Ajmer’s kesaria bhat, Madurai’s dosai, Jewish halva in Mumbai, and communal feasts in Udupi, Goa and the Kumbh Mela.
Sacred food or prasad or prasadam is linked to the history, myth, and identity of specific shrines all over India. They are served to devotees who view it as a divine blessing. Food & Faith explores this powerful yet intimate connection.