The Role of Food in a Temporary Matter and When Mr Pirzada Came to Dine

It brings harmony and the representation of food in different forms of media often arouses the taste buds of the readers (in case of literature) or the audience (in case of movies). Food highlights different moods and might be introduced as a new genre that gains significance in the topical times of globalization. The paper discusses two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri ‘A Temporary Matter’ and ‘When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine’ from her work, Interpreter of Maladies and Nora Okja Keller’s Fox Girl where food serves as a metaphor for human relationships, emotions and identity.Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘A Temporary Matter’ highlights the importance of small changes in the everyday way of living through food as a metaphor. The story unfolds gradually the separation in the marital life of thirty-five years old Shukumar and thirty-three years old Shobha following the birth of their dead child during which Shukumar was away. Things were no longer the same between them as they managed to stay away from one another for most of the time. The story essentially focuses on the interplay between these two characters. Shobha began to take little or no interest in cooking and Shukumar had to cook most of the dishes without which Shobha could even do with a simple bowl of cereal. The different varieties of food items which clearly represent their Indian origin despite the fact that they lived in Baltimore, also reflect their happy days when Shobha looked after the nitty-gritty of domestic affairs and was futuristic when it came to shopping and storing food items for emergencies. Food mediates the relationship between the couple. The pleasant memories of their relationship often haunt Shukumar’s mind as he recollects:The pantry was always stocked with extra bottles of olive and corn oil, depending on whether they were cooking Italian or Indian. There were endless boxes of pasta in all shapes and colors, zippered sacks of basmati rice.