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Bengali cuisine has had a long history, with its premier cookbook being the “Pakrajeshwar” (1831) which is also the oldest in India. The gastronomic experience has changed greatly over the years and this can be seen in the recording of recipes in printed cookbooks over time.
A peculiar trait of the Bengali cookbook is the inclusion of English and European influences and recipes within, through its colonial and post-colonial period. Utsa Ray’s “Culinary Culture in Colonial India”, and “Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia”, speaks extensively of the change in gastronomic experience.
The story took the start from influence from the Mughals and Farsi, where the emphasis was put on. The focus on women and their recipes became much prominent later, in periodicals like, “Bamabodhini Patrika”, “Mahila”, “Punya”, “Antahpur” and “Paricharika”. Even, till the 1900s, recipes have imbibed foreign influence and foods, leaving the cuisine as a hybrid product of foreign influence, with the earliest anglicized cookbook with step-to-step instructions for recipes.
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