Nina Furstenau’s food writing heightens senses of history, connection

Lyla

Table of Contents A journey from ‘Heartland’ to heritageSurprising the sensesKitchen stories Astute epicures might sit at a table, lift a fork or spoon to their mouths and trace each ingredient in a given dish.  Place a plate before Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, and she starts tracing lines on a map. She […]

Astute epicures might sit at a table, lift a fork or spoon to their mouths and trace each ingredient in a given dish. 

Place a plate before Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, and she starts tracing lines on a map. She connects dots between people, and across eras. And flashes of memory whisk her back in time, into kitchens where people have not only shared recipes with her but offered their stories.

“I can’t help myself,” Furstenau said. “When I look down, I’m seeing history. I’m seeing food identity, and who feels what foods represent their culture. It just deepens the experience for me.”

Furstenau applies this perceptive palate in her latest book, “Green Chili and Other Impostors,” available via University of Iowa Press next week. Within its pages, the Columbia-based food journalist deepens, then extends, understanding of cuisine as culture by visiting distinct Bengali communities in Kolkata and around India.

More:Meet Columbia artist Khia Thompson, who sounds out a fresh voice at Orr Street Studios

A journey from ‘Heartland’ to heritage

Nina Furstenau

Furstenau’s previous book, 2013’s “Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland,” won the M.F.K. Fisher Grand Prize for Excellence in Culinary Writing for its soulful look at her childhood as a first-generation immigrant in Pittsburg, Kansas. In Furstenau’s work, the line separating food writing and lyrical biography is quite thin; our living and coming alive is bound up with food and the people who make it, a truth the writer underlines so well.

https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/entertainment/books/2021/10/29/nina-furstenaus-food-writing-heightens-senses-history-connection/8541859002/

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