Thursday, August 21, 2008


Researching Indian products through published material is invariably difficult because Indian products are not documented and written about much. So this is why what this batch of students is attempting is very important. I don't think any of them has realizes this yet! So other methods of collecting information need to be used. Ahmedabad is fortunate to have a museum of vessels ( and a visit to this museum good could be a good start. The bulk of the information would really come from oral testimonies - from senior product designers, from the older generation, from professional cooks, owners of shops selling kitchen ware, hotel owners and the like. The internet would also throw up something, especially from websites of companies manufacturing kitchen equipment. Also old magazines which product advertisements - the NID library has bound volumes of the Illustrated Weekly of India for instance. Find out what the object you have chosen to study is called in different Indian languages and that might give a clue (for instances see if the word is Arabic, or Persian, or indigenous - that will give you something to follow up). See if the kind of food related to the object is eaten in other cultures - for instance roti, tortilla, pancake - check what implements are used in those cultures.

Record all the information along with all available visuals. MENTION SOURCES FROM WHERE INFORMATION WAS ACCESSED - For oral testimonies mention person, date and time of interview and place of interview. For websites - mention url and date it was accessed. For books - author, title, publisher, date of publishing and place of publishing. Make a start on this and see how it goes.


mQ said...

we have been assigned the "pop up toaster"which i believe is a western invention,,,
so how do we go about it,,, i think net is the only source,,,, will chck out the books u mentioned tomorrow and see whether any mention of toaster is there in it,,,,


Suchitra said...

Mushtaq,the toaster is a 'western' invention. Think about it like this - bread itself, in the form it is in now, has come to us from outside. Look at the history of bread, particularly at sliced bread, because you cannot have a toaster without sliced bread. Also what is the principle - toasting - what are the ways it has been achieved over time. You can also look at the point at which it was introduced in India. Was it with the British? Actually the form of bread here in Gujarat - called pau - is believed to have come with the Portuguese. In fact, pau is a Portuguese word. Also consider the lifestyle and food changes that made the toaster accepted/needed in Indian. Ask some shop which sells electrical appliances for the kitchen - Akbarally's at Navrangpura (off CG Road) comes to mind. Ask if he had any gas-top devices before the toaster.