In the spring 1979 Mary Douglas visited the department and held some inspiring lectures on her research on food and culture. Shortly thereafter, I wrote a seminar paper on the ritual expression of social boundaries among the Hindus of Nepal. In 1980 the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research decided to give priority to research concerning the cultural aspects of food, and in the autumn 1980 Professor Anita Jacobson-Widding asked me if I wanted to join a project designed to compare the relationship between food and culture in three different cultures. My part would be to explore the complexities of Hindu food culture and its relation to social organization. This resulted in a request for grants for field work from the the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and in a series of seminars with representatives from the Department of Nutrition and the Department of Economic History, who were also designing similar projects. I am grateful to the Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the generous grants for field work, and to Professor Anita Jacobson-Widding for her inspiring guidance as project leader.
I would like to extend my thanks to Mrs. Sarcha Maharjhan, the members of her household, and particularly her son Durga Bahadur Maharjan who was a faithful friend and an invaluable assistant during the field work. I would also like to thank Prem Bahadur Kangsakar for his hospitality and all he taught me about Newari culture. I am also grateful to Siddharta Man Tuladhar and his wife Sunom Tuladhar who helped me translate some Newari works into English, and for their interest and constructive criticism of my work.
I am deeply
grateful to His Majesty's Government of Nepal for granting me a research visa.
I also wish to extend my thanks to
Director Shanta Bahadur Gurung at the
Foreword to the Second Edition
Ten years have passed since I defended this dissertation and received my doctoral degree. Then, Harald Tambs-Lyche was the discussant appointed by the Faculty of Humanities. I am indebted to him and to Gabriella Eichinger Ferro-Luzzo for constructive criticism. I am also indebted to Mahdab Lal Maharjan who has consistently encouraged me to make a second edition.
Since then I have
spent my time doing research on Swedish economic policy and politicians
muddling through repeated economic crises, a subject no less exotic than the
symbolic significance of food in Newar society. Nevertheless, we have not
completely lost contact with
In the wake of the
dismantling of the Pancayat-system the pace of social change in
Foreword to the Web-edition
Originally, Food Ritual and Society, was my doctoral
dissertation, att the Department of Culture Anthropology,
In retrospect it seems that the main value of my work may be as a contribution to Newar memory and history.