Khabaar. An Immigrant Journey

Publication Date:

April 2022

Original language and publisher

English | University of Iowa Pres

Territories Handled

France, Netherlands, Scandinavia


Essay, Food & Drink, Memoir

Khabaar. An Immigrant Journey


Ghosh writes especially well through her memories, from tender (as a child shopping for goat with her father in a bustling Delhi market) to terrifying (desperately escaping a hotel room she was accidentally locked in before a job presentation). . . . A likable food memoir from a self-aware and culturally astute author. — Kirkus

Ghosh is a talented and exciting voice in the literary field. I’m looking forward to reading everything that she writes now and in the future. This is one writer to watch. — Nayomi Munaweera, author of What Lies Between Us

Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey crackles with energy and passion. This book engages the reader on many levels: it awakens the senses, heightens awareness of racial and gender disparity, and perhaps above all is a powerful love story between its author and her family and country of origin. Madhushree Ghosh has written a book that educates as it entertains, which is no easy feat. I am enriched for having read it. — Dani Shapiro

A seemingly effortlessly wise collection of essays that shows again and again the ways writing about food involves more than a story, a political history, or a family legacy, as Ghosh takes the food essay into entirely new directions. The result is a brilliant book about the past and the present that also feels like the future of the form. — Alex Chee

In Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey, Madhushree Ghosh shares her unforgettable story deftly and beautifully, as only a gifted storyteller can. Like the foods that shape and inform Ghosh’s memories and reflections, her intimate, powerful prose is meant to be savored. This memoir, at once global in scope and deeply intimate, is a treasure.  Deesha Philyaw

I have been an enthusiastic follower of Madhushree Ghosh, and have great admiration for her literary talent. But I was not prepared for this new very powerful and entrancing work. I highly recommend it. It’s unforgettable. — Luis Alberto Urrea

Wildly original. With her scientific sensibility, chef’s palate and poet’s heart, Madhushree Ghosh has given us a singular and spectacular read. — Mira Jacob

In this richly evocative debut memoir, Madhushree Ghosh seamlessly blends stories of food and family, longing and grief, to reveal the power of food to connect us — to the past, to one another, to our appetites and desires, to that which we wish to say when language fails. A book to read with all your senses, Khabaar will break your heart and make it swell. — Lacy M. Johnson

As thought-provoking as it is delicious, joyful, and a delight to read. — Sonia Faleiro

As an immigrant, I want to reclaim my name — and my identity. LA Times Op-Ed

Hungry? The new memoir serves up a banquet of life experiences. — Karla Peterson, San Diego Union-Tribune

The Confluence of History on the Plate. — Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, BOMB

For readers looking for a deeper understanding of how food serves as a platform to explore other topics, such as the immigrant experience, social justice, and self-discovery; for food lovers who relish descriptive prose and armchair travel, and for anyone who devours thoughtful, reflective writing set against a precise style of storytelling. Layla Khoury-Hanold, Hippocampus Magazine

All of It Arun Venugopal,

This brilliant read weaves together the global experience of South Asian culture through food, begging the question of what it means to belong, and how to carry the importance of the past with us. — Rebecca Freund,

Ms Magazine 2022 Most Anticipated Books for The Rest of Us.— Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine

Food as Survival, Grief, and Liberation — Anjali Enjeti, Lithub interview

This is 51 Sari Botton, Oldster Magazine

22 Books to read in 2022 by South Asian authorsBrown Girl Bookshelf

Must-Read Books of April Chicago Review of Books

The book defies all real genre constraints by combining food writing, immigrant stories, journalism, explorations of trauma and violence, and so much more. Ghosh brings together her background as a scientist as well as her love for food and her Bengali heritage and creates a work unlike any other. Chicago Review of Books Podcast

The Braided Essay: What It Is and Why I Used This Writing Structure The Writer’s Digest

Extraordinary culinary memoir simmered to perfection — Jyothsna Hegde, NRI Pulse

A Love Letter to Her People — Nupur Bhatnagar, SEEMA

WARWICK’S on FACEBOOK — in conversation with Adrienne Brodeur

A culinary narrative by an accomplished writer that introspectively addresses diversity, the immigrant experience, and identity through the lens of food. A chapter of the book published as an essay in Longreads received a Notable Mention in The Best American Food Writing 2020.

As noted recently in the Washington Post, there is a shortage of food memoirs written by BIPOC authors. Most are by white chefs, and don’t reflect the varied experiences and perspectives around food and family held by people with traditionally marginalized voices.

Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey is about how immigrants use food to recreate their worlds in a new place, and maintain connections with their families and cultures. It tells the story of the trek the author’s refugee parents made when they were children during India’s Partition in 1947 when the country was divided into three by the British Raj, and what foods they brought with them to remind them of home. It’s also a reflection of her immigrant life from India to America, with the food she cooks as one who holds memories of a country gone — as a daughter of Bengali refugees, as a survivor of domestic abuse, as an outlier woman in science in America. And the third strand is about South Asian chefs who’ve made a different country home, and have brought their signature to dishes rooted in the food traditions from the places they left.

It’s part history of South Asian cuisine as it migrated with immigrants like her, and part memoir of her life as a child in a Bengali family as they were uprooted time and again.