History of indian cooking

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 13 23:48:38 UTC 2000

I have come across two books in Sanskrit specifically on cooking. One is the
'Pakadarpana' said to have been written by Maharaja Nala (of the Nala and
Damayanti fame). I checked the book to see if there were any anachronisms
(like mention of tomatoes, cumin seeds, potatos and so on) and there were
none. The book had directions for preparing many specific meat dishes from
birds etc. also. You might be aware that the Hindu tradition (in the
Mahabharata?) too states that Maharaja Nala was was an excellent cook and
that he wrote a book on cooking. The Pakadarpana specifically mentions
'Sambhaar' as a dish prepared from lentils. It is amazing to note that
common traditional Indian cooking practices (like soaking rice before
cooking, and then dropping it in warm water) are mentioned in this text.

The other book (I forgot the name) is said to be the composition of Sushena
Vaidya, who is said to be none other than the physician of King Ravana. I
have read only portions of this text, which is written in a somewhat archaic
manner. Can get references of the printed edition of interested.

I have heard of several other 'Pakashastras' and 'Supashastras' but have not
seem them in print or in manuscript.



----Original Message Follows----
From: Nikhil Rao <marpally_n_p at YAHOO.COM>

I heard an interesting story I heard from Mr.
Nagarajan, a retired IAS officer who comes from a
family of smartha deshastha brahmins settled in
Thanjavur and who runs a
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