Approaching his fortieth birthday, Michael Booth found himself in a slump. Physically, and existentially. Increasingly glued to the computer screen, gaining weight and obsessed with attempting (and failing) to recreate his beloved Indian takeaways, his only relief came in the form of afternoon soaps and plenty of wine with dinner. His wife had noticed. 'Michael, this isn't working...' she said, ominously. What she suggested was not a divorce, but an escape: a three-month family tour of India. Visions of debilitating diseases, insects and lost children immediately sprang to mind. But so too did a quiet thought u just think of the seekh kebabs, Michaela And so, accompanied by a long (and secretive) itinerary, plenty of Imodium and two young boys, the family set off on a spiritual and culinary odyssey. What they hoped for was not so much a tourist trip, but a new perspective: for in India, 'you need only glance out of your window to feel grateful for your lot.' Criss-crossing the country, from mist-shrouded Delhi to the sweltering heat of Kerala, the opulent Taj Mahal ('it's dumb to build something that big and bury only one person in it') to the teeming slums of Mumbai, the family Booth enjoy dining in roadside shacks, temples and markets covering dozens of square kilometres, sampling simple delicacies and eight-course extravaganzas, including 'ectoplasmic' chat, tender tandoori, fiery samosas, butter-rich curries and the greatest lassis in the world, in an attempt to explore and unearth the secrets of a vast gastronomic tradition. It is a journey for the mind as much as the stomach, a voyage inwards, as the family tackle believers, visit shrines, temples and relics, and enthusiastically (but with some grumbling from Michael) take up yoga and meditation lessons, in an attempt to find the way to live a better life, and how to embark on the long path to enlightenment. Eat Pray Eat is an extraordinary travelogue, and a unique exploration of a country, its food and its people. Even more so, it is about what happens when a spiritually bankrupt, irascible and gluttonous thirty-nine year old father of two was confronted by the humanity, insanity and wisdom of one of the greatest civilisations on earth. With a fair amount of eating along the way too.
- Publication Date:
- 03 / 10 / 2011