Curry: A Biography

Chatto & Windus

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This imaginative book tells the history of India and its rulers through their food. It follows the story of curry as it spread from the courts of Delhi to the balti hoses of Birmingham, from the tiffin-carriers of Bombay to the army canteens of Japan.

Curry is the product of India's long history of invasion. In the wake of the Mughal conquerors, an army of cooks brought Persian recipes to northern India; in the south, Portuguese spice merchants introduced vinegar marinades and the chillies they had recently discovered in the New World; the British soon followed, with their passion for roast meat accompanied by cauliflowers and beans. When these new ingredients were mixed with native spices such as cardamoms and black pepper, they produced those distinctively Indian dishes -- biryani, vindaloo and jalfrezi. Almost every Indian dish is the product of such a fusion of different food traditions.

Curry: a biography tells the story of an array of familiar Indian dishes and the people who invented, discovered, cooked and ate them. The British relished the kaleidoscope: indiscriminately, they called everything 'curry' and took it back to Britain, where it became a staple of the Victorian dinner party. Later, after the Second World War, Bangladeshi seamen, by opening Indian restaurants and take-aways in London's East End, helped to make curry Britain's new national dish.

Curry teems with colourful characters, from Elizabeth Gwillim's Indian servants who refused to serve hare for a dinner party, to culinary rivalry between the courts of Lucknow and Delhi; from the Rajah who loved roast black rat, to a young Gandhi surviving in London on a diet of porridge. Rich with anecdote, this meticulously researched book is vivid, entertaining and delicious.


Condition: Pre-loved book. Signed. Moderate yellowing of pages. Otherwise in good condition.

Format: Hardcover
Year published: 2005

Pages: 318
History; non-fiction
Imprint: Chatto & Windus

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