ABSTRACT

Throughout the 1990s the lifestyle of the Indian middle classes changed dramatically, and a new consumerist orientation challenged many of the certainties embedded in everyday practices. Amongst the arenas where these changes were played out food consumption and the availability of new foods across India’s metropolitan areas were particularly prominent although these changes have been notably absent from the analysis of these lifestyles. Changing food habits signify wider social transformations in the aftermath of reform, as has been documented in some detail in the case of other regions, for example China (Jing 2000; Farquhar 2002), but in spite of a rich literature on traditional understandings of food in South Asia the emerging new patterns have not been analysed beyond a banal recognition of the attraction fast food chains have for Indian youths (Figure 5.1).