In Light of India by Octavio Paz

Excerpt from In Light of India

"Food, more than mystical speculations, is a reliable way to approach a people and its culture. I have mentioned that many of the flavors of Indian food are the same as Mexican. There is, however, one essential difference, not in flavor but in presentation: Mexican cuisine consists of a succession of dishes....In European cooking, the order of the dishes is quite precise. It is a diachronic cuisine, as Claude Levi Strauss has said, in the which the dishes follow one after the other in a sort of parade interrupted by brief pauses. It is a succession that evokes th eimage of a military march or a religious procession. It is in itself a theory(italics by Paz), in the philosophical meaning of the word: European cuisine is a demonstration.....A radical difference: in India, the various dishes come together on a single plate. Neither a succession nor a prarade, but a conglomeration and superimposition of things and tastes: a synchronic cuisine. A fusion of flavors, a fusion of times.

....I realized that its ( indian food) secret is not a mixture of flavors, but rather a graduation of opposites that are simulataneously pronounced and subtle. Not a succession, as in the West, but a conjunction. It is a logic that rules nearly all Indian creations."