Accepted paper:

Identity and Aesthetics of Food Culture: The Dogra Weddings of Jammu, J & K (India)


Abha Chauhan (University of Jammu)

Paper short abstract:

Food builds the identity and culture of individuals, communities and nations that is best reflected during wedding occasions. This paper explores how the Dogras of Jammu region in northwest India maintain their identity in the changing globalised world through food culture at their weddings.

Paper long abstract:

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are, wrote renowned gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) in his celebrated work The Physiology of Taste. Food shapes our identity as people and gives meaning to our culture. The surrounding society and ecology influences the development of individual taste, explaining why and how food cultures are identified and associated with groups and nations such as Italy with pizza and pasta, kimchi with Korea or potatoes with Ireland and wazwan with Kashmir. In India, and among the Dogras of Jammu in the northwest state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) food at weddings reflects the identity of its people as well as the changes to which the Dogra food culture is adapting. The food at Dogra weddings includes the traditional local dishes like Rajmash, Ambal, Kalaari and Mitha Madra with other cuisines like Punjabi, Kashmiri, South Indian, Chinese or Italian. No wedding can be complete without food being served in an appropriate manner and style, and with required taste and flavor keeping the aesthetics of food and ambience of place in mind. This shows on the one hand, the impact of globalizing consumer world and on the other, an urgency to maintain the identity of people through food culture in which the aesthetic sense is given consideration. The paper explores these dimensions of food culture of the Dogras of Jammu region in the context of identity and aesthetics that is maintained, sustained and promoted during and through weddings.

panel P48
Weddings: identity and aesthetics in a globalising consumer world