Thoughts on eating in America

Fresh off the boat from India in the summer of 2009, some of my initial impressions of America were based on how different the food culture was from other parts of the world that I had been to.

The culture of excess and waste didn’t sit very well with me. (I come from an Indian family where it was, and still is, mandatory to finish every last morsel on your plate.) The idea that produce at a farmer’s stand costs more than veggies in a supermarket seemed illogical (it is the exact opposite in India.) I guess it was the culture shock I experienced that sparked thoughts of experimenting with vegetarianism, and an overall curiosity in how and where my food was coming from. These were surprising, disconcerting thoughts, because I am someone who loves meat and eats every kind there is. (Still do!)

That summer was also when I decided to pursue photography more seriously. I enrolled myself in a continuing education course in Documentary Photography at MassArt, Boston. Our only assignment over the next 12 weeks was to document a topic of our choosing – and mine, naturally was food.

I discovered some of those pictures today and many of those early food memories came flooding back. I made hundreds of pictures over the weeks that I shot this essay – visiting farmer’s markets, restaurants, poultry farms, bakeries and food fests all over Boston. I don’t really know what I did with all the pictures I made – that was before I learned the importance of archiving. These are the few that remain on an old laptop that I used at the time. So here they are in no particular order – My first impressions on how America cultivates and consumes.

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