Pâticheri \pəˈti + chér-ee\ n.
1. A conjugation of the French “pâtisserie” [a bakery specializing in French pastries] with the Tamil “cheri” [from the phrase chernthu vaazhum idam: the locality where people live together];
2. An auditory allusion to Pondicherry–the cheri which is now my home, or Puducherry (pudu-cheri: new town), as this erstwhile French colony at the edge of British India now calls itself;
3. A play on/with words, ingredients, recipes; a wish for good pastry and good food made of converging inspirations in the locality where people live together.
I am a cultural anthropologist, college professor, mother to two boys (the older of whom is taking the picture above while the younger attempts to sabotage it), always cook and sometimes baker who relishes thinking about how food makes lives–from cultivation to commodification to cooking and consumption.
I am also a writer, or should I say that my profession has always wanted so many words–lectures, reports, comments and reviews, peer-reviewed publications. My professional search for words, and for the actual and sentimental infrastructure supports our lives, often brings me to food as that central experience that holds so much in its breadth. For food, too, wants words of academic and so many other kinds, from technical instruction to tales that bring food alive by association. So much of the story of how we live and function, make our relationships, raise our kids, go about our workaday lives and struggles; so much of how we suffer pain or experience happiness, even of our political economy, is told in our foodways and food practices. My hope for Pâticheri is that it become a site for such narration, a celebration of food in all its messy, difficult, gastronomical ethno.graphic richness.