The story of how ‘spices’ added taste to Kerala cuisine
The book “Eating with History - Ancient Trade-Influenced Cuisines of Kerala” authored by Tanya Abraham and published by Niyogi Books explains how history and cuisine are intertwined in Kerala. The well-researched book gives a detailed account of how Kerala cuisine was influenced by foreign trade and its evolution since then.
Tanya Abraham grew up in a small town in Kerala in a big 'tarawad' (family dwelling that housed not only her large family but also soaked in the town's happenings. At its core, was her grandmother's kitchen. It was called 'kusinchya', a Portuguese derivative of the word kitchen, and it was from here that the main artery ran to nourish the soul of the household.
There couldn't be a better grounding for a foodie as Abraham dishes out a culinary trail that is extensive and varied as it can get - from Jews of the Paradesi and Malabari sects, Syrian Christians, Muslims, Anglo-Indians, Latin Catholics and others who mingled with and evolved from the local populace - and the innumerable traders that flocked the state.
"In the heart of Kerala, lies the love of its people for food. As cultures and traditions thrived in the state, food found a prominent position in people's lives. Influenced greatly by traditions, religious beliefs and trade it led to the emergence of a variety of cuisines," writes Abraham in this tour-de-force along the original Spice Route.