Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

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Oxford University Press, Feb 6, 2006 - Cooking - 352 pages
3 Reviews
Curry serves up a delectable history of Indian cuisine, ranging from the imperial kitchen of the Mughal invader Babur to the smoky cookhouse of the British Raj. In this fascinating volume, the first authoritative history of Indian food, Lizzie Collingham reveals that almost every well-known Indian dish is the product of a long history of invasion and the fusion of different food traditions. We see how, with the arrival of Portuguese explorers and the Mughal horde, the cooking styles and ingredients of central Asia, Persia, and Europe came to the subcontinent, where over the next four centuries they mixed with traditional Indian food to produce the popular cuisine that we know today. Portuguese spice merchants, for example, introduced vinegar marinades and the British contributed their passion for roast meat. When these new ingredients were mixed with native spices such as cardamom and black pepper, they gave birth to such popular dishes as biryani, jalfrezi, and vindaloo. In fact, vindaloo is an adaptation of the Portuguese dish "carne de vinho e alhos-"-the name "vindaloo" a garbled pronunciation of "vinho e alhos"--and even "curry" comes from the Portuguese pronunciation of an Indian word. Finally, Collingham describes how Indian food has spread around the world, from the curry houses of London to the railway stands of Tokyo, where "karee raisu" (curry rice) is a favorite Japanese comfort food. We even visit Madras Mahal, the first Kosher Indian restaurant, in Manhattan. Richly spiced with colorful anecdotes and curious historical facts, and attractively designed with 34 illustrations, 5 maps, and numerous recipes, Curry is vivid, entertaining, and delicious--a feast for food lovers everywhere.
 

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Curry: a tale of cooks and conquerors

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In her latest book, historian Collingham successfully depicts the vivid history of Indian foods and cooking.Curry is richly peppered with illustrations, maps, and, of course, recipes. Beginning with ... Read full review

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Although I didn't care much for the recipes included within the book, the rich history of each iconic dish had me captivated from almost the first few pages until the end. Ms. Collingham blends gastronomy, geography and politics with ease. If you find at least two of those three interesting, you will not regret picking up a copy of this delightful book. 

Contents

The Quest for an Authentic Indian Meal
1
The Great Mughals
13
The Portuguese and the Chilli Pepper
47
East India Company Merchants Temples and the Nawabs of Lucknow
81
The British Invention of Curry
107
Bringing India to Britain
129
British Food in India
157
The Great Tea Campaign
187
Syhleti Sailors and Indian Takeaways
215
10 Curry Travels the World
245
GLOSSARY
259
NOTES
263
BIBLIOGRAPHY
284
INDEX
306
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Lizzie Collingham, a Cambridge-trained historian, is a free-lance scholar and writer. She is the author of Imperial Bodies: The Physical Experience of the Raj.

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