Photograph by Karen Kasmauski
Photograph by Karen Kasmauski

I cook because I like to eat, feed my wife and friends. In normal life I am a photo editor and photographer living in Washington DC. I have no formal culinary training, but I guess food does run deep in my soul. Much of my extended family in Kerala, India have run food businesses and I learned to cook from them, and my mother. I am also blessed because my wife eats more than just salads, and in spite of her American/Serbian-Scandinavian descent, has a panache for spicy and outlandish foods. And also to my mother-in-law who still has the patience to teach me how to use the oven.

I am also lucky to have lived in many parts of the world and be exposed to their cultures and cuisines. I was born and brought in Bombay (Mumbai), did most of schooling in Tanzania (Africa), and spent many summers in Dubai. I have traveled across India and enjoyed eating food from the unknown street vendor to the Bukhara restaurant in New Delhi. I have also chased food for editorial purposes – I spent a week photographing Tsukiji market in Tokyo and sampling some of the best sushi and sashimi in the world; my wife and I spent about a week in Bangkok tasting just street food. Other stories include examining US fast food chains and their menus in India, and the evolution of Indian food in the United States.

I have been documenting farmers markets in the US since 2008, to understand the food supply system and to get to know the food I eat.

INJI – That is the word for ginger in Malayalam, my mother tongue. Ginger is my favorite ingredient to cook with. The rhizome is one of the most versatile spice, and it can be used for flavoring savory dishes, as a condiment, in drinks, in deserts and even as the main ingredient.

This blog is a record of what I cook, and my experimentation with food. Though I still not comfortable with the terminology “fusion cuisine”, I am experimenting and learning how to make Indian dishes using traditional North American ingredients.

Thanks for visiting my blog…..

Sebastian John


1. What does INJI mean?
A. Inji is the Malayalam (my mother tongue) word for ginger.

2. What and why dustandcolor?
A. The name “dustandcolor” was suggested by my wife after we were “brainstorming” one night (after couple of drinks) for a name that best represents India. To me India is best represented by dust and color. Hence the name.

3. Does “dust” go with food?
A. It depends on perception. In no way am I degenerating India. I am proud to be an Indian and the way India is (albeit certain things). Dustandcolor is part of our blog http://www.dustandcolor.com/ which should be live soon.

3. How can I contact you?
A. You can contact me at dustandcolor@gmail.com. My contacts are also on my photography website http://www.sebastianjohn.net/.