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.
[Photo credit: Noor, December 2015 @Naturellement Garden Cafe, Auroville]
I am a cultural anthropologist, college professor, mother to two boys, 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.
But also: just a space of free play and experimentation. I make no apologies for breaking every single blogger rule out there: not posting on schedule, being unpredictable, never looking once at google analytics, changing my stories or the tenor of this blog as it pleases me. You’d think that rule-breaking would attract penalties. But in the four years since Pâticheri was born, I’ve met and interacted with more people through this blog than I ever imagined I would. Strangers have become friends. Folks I never knew have shared meals at home. Those–and the push this blog gives me to cook better, write better, relate better, photograph better–are far greater gifts than I ever could have dreamed of.
The photos on this site are all mine–and have, I’d like to think, grown with me and this blog. If you’re wanting the use of any of them, for any reason at all, please write me first: deepa[at]paticheri[dot]com