Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 297 pages
8 Reviews
Today’s most highly regarded writer on Indian food gives us an enchanting memoir of her childhood in Delhi in an age and a society that has since disappeared.

Madhur (meaning “sweet as honey”) Jaffrey grew up in a large family compound where her grandfather often presided over dinners at which forty or more members of his extended family would savor together the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur’s palate.

Climbing mango trees in the orchard, armed with a mixture of salt, pepper, ground chilies, and roasted cumin; picnicking in the Himalayan foothills on meatballs stuffed with raisins and mint and tucked into freshly friedpooris; sampling the heady flavors in the lunch boxes of Muslim friends; sneaking tastes of exotic street fare—these are the food memories Madhur Jaffrey draws on as a way of telling her story. Independent, sensitive, and ever curious, as a young girl she loved uncovering her family’s many-layered history, and she was deeply affected by their personal trials and by the devastating consequences of Partition, which ripped their world apart.

Climbing the Mango Treesis both an enormously appealing account of an unusual childhood and a testament to the power of food to evoke memory. And, at the end, this treasure of a book contains a secret ingredient—more than thirty family recipes recovered from Madhur’s childhood, which she now shares with us.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quiBee - LibraryThing

Probably 2.5 stars. Somewhat interesting memoir about Madhur Jaffrey's childhood in prewar Delhi with a fine description of family history from the Indian Mutiny and following. It gives a very good ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookwoman247 - LibraryThing

This was, IMO, an especially interestihg memoir. What made it so fascinating was how her family's history and even her personal history dovetailed with Indian history and the history of Delhi. I also ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

\Madhur Jaffrey is the author of many previous cookbooks, including the classic An Invitation to Indian Cooking and Madhur Jaffrey’s Taste of the Far East, which was voted Best International Cookbook and Book of the Year for 1993 by the James Beard Foundation. She is also an award-winning actress with numerous major motion pictures to her credit. She lives in New York City.

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