Priya Basil – Be My Guest: Reflections and Discussions While Sharing Food

Welcome to Outer Travel, Inner Journey Podcast. In this episode, we speak with author Priya Basil. She recently wrote a book called Be My Guest ⁠— a thought-provoking meditation on food, family, identity, immigration, and, most of all, hospitality.

We touched on what inspired her to write the book, specifically her family who she describes as “fantastical about food.” We also touch on how well received the book is today, even though she felt she wrote it in a very personal way. Pay special attention to the part on how the current generation treats food, especially on Instagram where the hashtag #foodporn and #eatclean are very widely used.

 

Links mentioned in the podcast

Highlights
  • “it’s been very gratifying to see how well the book has been received and how it offers the possibility for people to connect to it in really different ways. Because I think the dimension of food and sharing is something that somehow we can all connect to.” – Priya Basil
  • “The whole idea of hospitality is that it’s about abundance and bounty and not setting limits. At the same time, of course, one needs boundaries and limits. So configuring that balance is something that is at the core of yoga practice and a general approach. To live in a more generous, ethical way.” – Priya Basil
  • “I think we live in a time where food is really a sort of identifier for many people, the choices of what and how to eat are part of a statement of who you are and how you want to be seen in the world.”  – Priya Basil
  • “I wanted to write something that really celebrated and the possibilities it gives us to talk about bigger issues.” – Priya Basil
  • “The idea of unconditional hospitality is a call to always be as open as possible to what might come in yourself and from others. It’s definitely the most challenging and in a way, the most destabilizing idea I’ve encountered in my life. But this  idea that you approach everything openly without deciding in advance what the outcome should be a powerful one.”  – Priya Basil

 

Guest Bio

Priya Basil was born in London to a family with Indian roots, she grew up in Kenya and now lives in Berlin. She’s published two novels and a novella, as well as numerous essays for various publications, including The Guardian, Die Zeit, Neue Zürchner Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Lettre International and Die Tageszeitung. Priya is a co-founder of Authors for Peace. In 2017, she launched a campaign for a European Public Holiday across Europe. Her latest book Be My Guest, Reflections on Hospitality – a hybrid text combining essay and memoir forms – was published by Suhrkamp in Germany in March 2019, and Canongate in the UK in October 2019. It was one of The Observer’s Best Books of the Year and Deutchlandfunk Kultur’s Non-fiction Recommendation of the Year. Be My Guest is shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2020 and the Fortnum and Mason Food Writing Awards 2020.

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