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Bibliography on Sacred Dining


Contributed by Andrew Fort, Texas Christian University

Texts recommended for research on “Sacred Dining”

M. Milner, Jr., _Status and Sacredness_ (OUP, 1994)

G. G. Raheja, _The Poison in the Gift_ (Chicago, 1988)

Sered, Susan Starr, Women as Ritual Experts: The Religious Lives of Elderly Jewish Women in Jerusalem.

A good popular introduction is the work of Margaret Visser, particularly her book, The Rituals of Dinner. Much Depends on Dinner, another of her books, is also good. http://www.margaretvisser.com/

Regarding sacred food, see Steven Rosen’s book, Holy Cow, on prasadam:

M. Detienne and J.P. Vernant, The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks (Chicago: 1989, translation by Paula Wissing of La cuisine du sacrifice en pays grec, 1979) may be useful for comparisons outside of South Asia.

Although the content of Charles Malamoud, Cooking the World: Ritual and Thought in Ancient India (1996, Cuire le monde translated by David White) is not directly about food, some Vedic ritual concepts might be applicable.

Patrick Olivelle has also written widely on food and drink, for example in his 2001 Gonda Lecture: "Food for Thought: Dietary Regulations and Social Regulation in Ancient India" (Amsterdam 2002) and "Abhakshya and Abhojya: An Exploration in Dietary Language," JAOS 122 (2002): 345-354.

Daryn, G., Encompassing a Fractal World - A few Lessons Drawn from the Nepalese Himalaya, Lexington Books, Lanham, 2006. The book is extensively engaged with the function of rice in contemporary Nepalese rituals.

Caroline Bynum Walker's Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (University of California Press, 1988) addresses several of these questions.

See also Etta Madden and Martha Finch's edited volume, Eating in Eden (Indiana U. Press), which includes essays focused on how different religious communities in the U.S. incorporate food in various settings.

Ferro-Luzzi G. (1977) “Ritual As Language: The Case of South Indian Food Offerings.” Current Anthropology. 18:507-514.

Khare  R. S. (1976) The Hindu Hearth and Home. Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Khare R.S. ed. (1992) The Eternal Food: Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists. New York: State University of New York.

Roy Nilanjana (2004) A Matter of Taste: The Penguin Book of Indian Writing on Food.  Delhi: Penguin.

Sahlins Marshall (1990) Food as a Symbolic Code. In Culture and Society. Contemporary debates Jeffrey Alexander and Steven Seidman. Eds. Pp. 94-101.Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

Siporin Steve (1994) “From Kashrut to Cucina Ebraica: The Recasting ofItalian Jewish foodways” Journal of American Folklore 107 (424) 268-281.

Toomey Paul (1992) “Mountain of Food, Mountain of Love: Ritual Inversion of the Annakuta Feast at Mount Govardhan.” In Eternal Food: Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists. ed. R.S. Khare. pp. 117-145. State University of New York Press.

Wu Frank (2002) „” The Best Chink Food: Dog-eating and the Dilemma of Diversity” in Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White. New York: Basic Books.

Yalman Nur (1969) “On the Meaning of Food Offerings in Ceylon’. In Forms of Symbolic Action. ed. Spencer, Robert. pp. 81-96. University of Washington Press.

Srinivas, Tulasi. “As Mother Made It‚: The Cosmopolitan Indian Family, Authentic‚ Food and the Construction of Cultural Utopia” International Journal of Sociology of the Family (Sage) Special volume 32:2(2006): 199-221



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Revised: February 27, 2007