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Author. Journalist. Editor.
Nina writes about hungers
satisfied and elusive.
About communion,
conviviality, curiosities,


Order her newest book, Green Chili & Other Impostors,
at your favorite local bookseller, or click here-- 


Join her journey:



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Food and Culture, 8th Edition

Market-leading text for cultural foods courses, providing current information on the health, culture, food, and nutrition habits of the most common community groups living in the United States. It is designed to help health professionals, chefs, and others in the food service industry learn to work effectively with members of different ethnic and religious groups in a culturally sensitive manner. with comprehensive coverage of Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, Mexicans and Central Americans, Caribbean Islanders, South Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders, People of the Balkans, Middle Easterners, Asian Indians, and regional Americans.

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Green Chili & Other Impostors

Follow a food trail and you’ll find yourself crisscrossing oceans. Join author Nina Mukerjee Furstenau as she picks through lost tastes with recipes as codes to everything from political resistance to comfort food and much more. Pinpoint the entry of the Portuguese in India by following green chili trails; find the origins of limes; trace tomatoes and potatoes in India to the Malabar Coast; consider what makes a food, or even a person, foreign and marvel how and when they cease to be.


Chillies, Chhana & Rasa:

Heritage Foods of Bengal

More than a cookbook—it traces the vastly rich culinary heritage of Bengal. The book, the Indian version of Green Chili & Other Impostors, is published by the wonderful Aleph Book Company in New Delhi, and tells the story of how the region has assimilated recipes and ingredients from all around the world to create some of Bengal’s best-known dishes. The reader will travel along chili trails to the seaports of Portugal, journey with the legendary gondhoraj lemon to the rest of the world, and discover mouth-watering Bengali recipes— some classics, others lesser-known delights.


Biting through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland

MFK Fisher Book Award Winner

At once a traveler’s tale, a memoir, and a mouthwatering cookbook, Biting through the Skin offers a first-generation immigrant’s perspective on growing up in America’s heartland. Author Nina Mukerjee Furstenau shares her recipes and a great deal more, inviting readers to join her on her journey toward herself and toward a vital sense of food as culture and the mortar of community. (MFK Fisher Book Award, Grand Prize Award for Culinary/Culture Writing, Les Dames d'Escoffier International, Kansas Notable Book)

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Savor Missouri: River Hills Food and Wine

Travel the back roads of Missouri's river hill country in search of homegrown regional foods, wines and more. Join Nina Mukerjee Furstenau as she follows the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers (with some tributaries in-between), and stop at wonderful roadside restaurants, wineries, orchards, bakeries and farms for the tasteful array of Missouri flavors. Recipes included!

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Tasty! Mozambique: a Feed the Future project

A low-literacy legume recipe collection funded by USAID for small holder farmers in Mozambique. The recipes were developed with a group of seven women farmers from the country's central region and take aim at childhood physical and mental stunting due to low protein diets.  The women's lives are highlighted and their foodstory is celebrated with delicious dishes using more protein in the mix. 

It should be noted that the recipe for the keema... had me combing the county for cardamom pods. Her food memoir, though, is less concerned with the proper amount of ginger in the dal than it is with the classic immigrant’s search for belonging.


Lush and lyrical, Nina Mukerjee Furstenau’s memoir, Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland, blends food and childhood, cuisine and family into a story that resonates and lingers like the spices she lovingly describes.


A beautiful and sensitive memoir—with recipes!—about life in Kansas for a Bengali family. Furstenau found the balance between cultures not in language or religion or dress. Instead, it came through food. 


In The Press



Nina Mukerjee Furstenau is a journalist, author, and editor. She was a Fulbright Global research scholar (2018-19), is on the board of directors for Media for Change, and has won the MFK Fisher Book Award and the Grand Prize Award for Culture/Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International, a Kansas Notable Book award, and more. In 2023, she was awarded the Les Dames d'Escoffier International Woman of Purpose Award, one of the organization's highest honors which recognizes work in the complex realms of local/global sustainability, food justice, and public health. Nina continues to work towards re-framing how we think about food for the betterment of all.

In other media, Nina hosts Canned Peaches, a podcast created with NPR affiliate station KBIA, The Missouri School of Journalism, The Missouri Humanities Council, and Harvest Public Media. The series focuses on the histories of iconic ingredients in the Midwest to reveal how we are already entwined on the plate. The textbook, Food and Culture, 8th Edition, edited by Nina and SeAnne Safaii-Waite and released in Spring 2023, provides current information on the health, culture, food, and nutrition habits of community groups living in the United States. It is designed for health professionals and others who hope to work effectively with members of different ethnic and religious groups in a culturally sensitive manner. Green Chili & Other Impostors (Chilies, Chhana and Rasa in India), focuses on how foods traveled around the world with India, especially under colonialism, as a nexus. Other published works include the award-winning Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America's Heartland, as well as the low-literacy Tasty! Mozambique aimed at improving human nutrition in regions with depleting soil nutrientsSavor Missouri: River Hills Country Food and Wine, and numerous stories and essays for newspapers and magazines.  

Nina is the retired director of Food Systems Communication for the University of Missouri's Science and Agricultural Journalism program (2010-2018),  and completed food/nutrition projects in Ghana and Mozambique for USAID and the McKnight Foundation. She was editor, then publisher of three business magazines (1987-2001) that she and her husband launched, has served as a judge for national journalism competitions such as the James Beard Media Awards, the Lowell Thomas Travel Writing competition, and others. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps (1984-86) and was chosen as one of its seven delegates worldwide for the U.N. World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. Nina received an M.A. in English/creative writing and a bachelor's in magazine journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism. Her upcoming books include: Rhubarb! (Belt Publishing, 2025), Feasting Asia: The Secret Life of Asian Food in America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2025), and 72 Microseasons: A Year of Change in American's Heartland (2026).



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