Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Feeding the city : work and food culture of the Mumbai Dabbawalas / Sara Roncaglia.

  • Roncaglia, Sara.
[2013], ©2013
  • Books
  • Online

Available online

view Feeding the city : work and food culture of the Mumbai Dabbawalas / Sara Roncaglia.


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
You can copy and distribute this work, as long as it is not primarily intended for or directed to commercial advantage or monetary compensation. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
If you make any modifications to or derivatives of the work, it may not be distributed.
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) terms and conditions
Credit: Feeding the city : work and food culture of the Mumbai Dabbawalas / Sara Roncaglia. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

About this work

Also known as

Nutrire la città. English


"Every day in Mumbai 5,000 dabbawalas (literally translated as "those who carry boxes") distribute a staggering 200,000 home-cooked lunchboxes to the city's workers and students. Giving employment and status to thousands of largely illiterate villagers from Mumbai's hinterland, this co-operative has been in operation since the late nineteenth century. It provides one of the most efficient delivery networks in the world: only one lunch in six million goes astray. Feeding the City is an ethnographic study of the fascinating inner workings of Mumbai's dabbawalas. Cultural anthropologist Sara Roncaglia explains how they cater to the various dietary requirements of a diverse and increasingly global city, where the preparation and consumption of food is pervaded with religious and cultural significance. Developing the idea of "gastrosemantics" – a language with which to discuss the broader implications of cooking and eating – Roncaglia's study helps us to rethink our relationship to food at a local and global level. The publication of this book is financed by the generous support of interested readers and organisations, who made donations using the crowd-funding website"--Publisher's website.


Cambridge : Open Book Publishers, [2013], ©2013.

Physical description

1 online resource (234 pages) : illustrations

Terms of use

Open access resource providing free access.
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Licence. For more detailed information consult the publishers website.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliography (p. 205-208) and index.

Language note

Translated from the Italian by Angela Arnone.


Available through Open Book Publishers.
Print version: Originally published in Italian as: Nutrire la città : i dabbawala di Mumbai nella diversità delle culture alimentari urbane. Milan, Italy : B. Mondadori, 2010.


Acknowledgements -- Preface -- Introduction -- 1. Bombay-Mumbai and the Dabbawalas: Origin and Development of a Parallel Economy -- 2. Dabbawala Ethics in Transition 3. Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust: The Shaping of Dabbawala Relations -- Conclusions: Tastes and Cultures -- Appendix: Theory and Practice for an Ethnography of Diversities -- Glossary -- Select Bibliography -- Index.



  • English

Permanent link



  • 9781909254022
  • 9781909254039
  • 9781909254046