HISD71: Culinary Ethnography

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The Origins of Biryani

The biggest way that Biryani was affected by the Indian Pakistan split was due to religion. Back in India, both vegetarian and meat Biryani were equally as important to the food culture. When Pakistan split from India, due to religious differences, it did not take with it the need for vegetarian Biryani. This is because in India, the majority of people at the time were Hindu, and in the Hindu religion, the diet is strictly vegetarian. Whereas, in Pakistan, the majority of people are obviously Muslim and they ate meat. Therefore in Pakistan, meat Biryani is much more popular than Vegetarian Biryani. This is probably why at some Pakistani restaurants, vegetarian Biryani is not even offered.


The Archive of Taste: Mole Poblano

This website is dedicated to Mole Poblano, which has been called Mexico’s national dish, a complex sauce of chile peppers, spices, turkey, and chocolate. As a documentary repository for mole, it seeks to answer the question, can we taste the past?

Authenticity in the Home and the Restaurant

As consumers of food we often hear the phrase, "this is authentic _________" from our family, friends and community, but what does it mean? Our research indicates that authenticity is a fluid concept which we construct to explain our memory of engaging with a particular cuisine. 

Food prepared in the home and restaurant offer a familiar yet distinct experience because of how it is presented. Restaurants try to engage clients in a multi-sensory environment where the sights, sounds, smells, and taste connect memory to the contemporary and is especially true of ethnic cuisine. Home cooking maintains a more intimate engagement with the cuisine that restaurants try to create.

Our project takes a closer look at the South Asian cuisine, primarily Afghanistan, Indian, and Pakistani as a diasporic journey from one "homeland" to another.  

A Short History of Sushi

This website illustrates how sushi evolved, how they looked, and what factors contributed to its evolution.