From acclaimed food writer and social justice activist Madhushree Ghosh comes a beautiful culinary memoir which holds a magnifying glass to the relationship between South Asian culture and food. Traversing home cooks, chefs, and food stall owners alike, Ghosh dissects this cultural zeitgeist alongside her own journey to America, detailing her experiences leaving an abusive marriage and keeping her parents’ memory alive through Bengali food in Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory, and Family.
Ghosh joined celebrated memoirist Mira Jacob (Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations) and fellow food-writer Mayukh Sen (Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America) for an eye-opening conversation about the relationship between what and how we eat and who we are.
Photos by Kelsie Lynn Bennett
Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory, and Family
By Madhushree Ghosh
Published by University of Iowa Press
Khabaar is a food memoir and personal narrative that braids the global journeys of South Asian food through immigration, migration, and indenture. Focusing on chefs, home cooks, and food stall owners, the book questions what it means to belong and what does belonging in a new place look like in the foods carried over from the old country? These questions are integral to the author’s own immigrant journey to America as a daughter of Indian refugees (from what’s now Bangladesh to India during the 1947 Partition of India); as a woman of color in science; as a woman who left an abusive marriage; and as a woman who keeps her parents’ memory alive through her Bengali food.
As a woman in science, an immigrant, and a daughter of refugees, Madhushree Ghosh’s work reflects her roots and her activism. Her food narrative memoir, Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory and Family is forthcoming in April 2022 from the University of Iowa Press. Her work received a Notable Mention in the Best American Essays in Food Writing and was Pushcart-nominated. She has been published in the New York Times, the Rumpus, Catapult, Guernica, Longreads, Brevity, Hippocampus, Atlas Obscura, Serious Eats, the Kitchn, DAME, and others.
Photo Credit: Hannah Claire Photography
Mira Jacob is a novelist, memoirist, illustrator, and cultural critic. Her graphic memoir Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award, named a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a best book of the year by Time, Esquire, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal. It is currently in development as a television series. Her novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize and named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and the Millions. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary Hub, Guernica, Vogue, and the Telegraph. She is an Assistant Professor at the Writing Program at The New School, and a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to Williamsburg. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.
Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan
Mayukh Sen is the author of Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America, published by W.W. Norton & Company in November 2021. He is currently writing a biography of the Indian-born Old Hollywood actress Merle Oberon, which will also be published by W.W. Norton & Company. He has won a James Beard Award and IACP Award for his food writing, and his work has been anthologized in two editions of The Best American Food Writing. He teaches food writing at Columbia University’s undergraduate creative writing program. He lives in Brooklyn.