Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Delhi recycling, in all fairness

March 15, 2005

When is recycling not really recycling? When the recycled or re-purposed item never really had a purpose in the first place. These papers, have been left on the ground (location across the street from Jantar Mantar, Delhi), as far as I can tell, for no other purpose than to be repurposed. The image on the left is a stack of paper left on the street as an offering to the gods of the recycled chaat-bag-makers.

Packaging for chaat is often nothing more than a bag made from old newsprint or repurposed paper, or for the wetter stuff, a leaf plate. The bag pictured on the right was made from some terribly interesting literature about bonds. One can see the imprint of the deep-fried sweet peas contained within being absorbed into the paper making a pretty pattern.

debra at 13:07 | | post to


  1. and they’re so aesthetically pleasing too! The treats at Shahi Samosas in Jodhpur are effing delightful, and the color of the seeping, oily deliciousness contrasts so well with the grayscale of the newsprint.
    Just a dude, fryin’ some samosas:

    Comment by Joanna Swan — February 27, 2011 @ 9:15

  2. Fab! I love the ‘kitchen on the street thing’. The Netherlands has sanitised itself of this culture to a shocking degree. For example, during ‘folk festivals’ children can’t sell cookies or the proverbial lemonade. It is illegal for a child to sell cookies during Queen’s Day. Supposedly the motivation for this has to do with supporting good hygiene, but considering that ‘folk’ tend to have a better record in hygiene than industry, I am inclined to think there are other reasons that have more to do with business monopolies than anything else.

    Comment by Debra — February 27, 2011 @ 10:31

  3. A similar food-safety-travesty happened in SF recently:

    The best part about India and China for me are the (declining) number of smiling street vendors hawking delicious smells and snacks galore.

    Comment by Joanna Swan — March 1, 2011 @ 9:06

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