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

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 297 pages
9 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Writermala - LibraryThing

The author writes in detail about a magical childhood as she was growing up in pre-independence India in a joint family. As is often the case with memories from India food is a vital part! Who better than Jaffrey an author of cookbooks, to elaborate on such a childhood? Read full review


On DelhiOld and New Sir Edwin Lutyens and
ty Two Summer Lunch The Red Book The Story of
THR British Rule The RecordKeeper Mutiny ofi85j
pUR The Freedom oj Kanpur My Mother and Father
The Milk Beauty
4J Six Summer Holiday Baby Sister Starting School
6j lCHT My Caring Reticent Sister The Useful Club
IQHTGGN Learning to Swim and Dance A Haven
i5o NhiieeN Chicken Pox SoupToast and Sewing
ni TwtNTYTWC The Muslim Twins Sudhas Vegetarian
t8j TweiMTYTHRee Punjabi Influences Food with
iqj TwCNTYpoUR The Looming Banyan Tree New School
2o5 TW NTY f IVfc Exam Season Brain Food The Honey
21S Twe NTY Seve N Future Planning The Radio Station
plLOCJU Kamals Return A Gift of CocaCola Sailing

f OURTeeN Summer Holidays in the Hills The Great
tig SlXTfcfcN Shibbudadas Favorites Teatime Tension

Common terms and phrases

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.

Bibliographic information