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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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India one of the largest and most populous countries in the world, has a great diversity of cuisines. Madhur Jaffrey (1985) put a dramatic spotlight on this diversity when she pointed out that India is larger than the whole of Europe (excepting Russia), that it embraces at least five major faiths, fifteen major languages, and over 1,500 minor languages and dialects; and that the seventeen states which were created within the country after it achieved independence were based on existing linguistic and cultural regions. What this means, she points out, is that the foods in these seventeen states differ from each other as much as the foods in the various countries of Europe. The simple facts of geography are of course responsible for many differences; India has a wide range of climates, from the snowy Himalayas to the coconut palms of the tropical south, and the indigenous foods in the regions vary accordingly.