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 houses of Birmingham and beyond...
Lizzie Collingham taught History at Warwick University and was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge before becoming an independent historian. Her books include Curry- A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors and The Taste of War- World War II and the Battle for Food. She is currently an Associate Fellow of Warwick University and the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. She recently completed a project researching the history of the kitchens of the Indian President's palace and regularly lectures on a gastronomic tour of Kerala. She works in a garden shed near Cambridge.
There's nothing like trying to represent the food of India on a two-page menu to raise tricky questions about authenticity and mass taste. Isn't curry really a British invention? Does chicken tikka masala have anything to do with Indian food? Fortunately, Cambridge-trained historian Collingham supplies a welcome corrective: the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent has always been in glorious flux, and the popularity of chicken vindaloo on London's Brick Lane or New York's Curry Row (and beyond) is no simple betrayal of the cuisine. (As far as charges of cultural imperialism go, if it weren't for the Portuguese, the chilli pepper never would have had its massive impact on the region's delicacies.) Easy stratifications wilt in the face of fact: Hindu and Muslim culinary traditions have been intertwined at least as far back as the 16th-century Mughal emperor Akbar, and even caste- and religion-derived gustatory restrictions are often overridden by traditions tied to subregion. Collingham's mixed approach is a delight: it's not every cookbook that incorporates an exhaustive (indeed, footnoted) culinary history, and few works of regional history lovingly explain how to make a delicious Lamb Korma. Collingham's account is generous, embracing complexity to create a richer exploration of the "exotic casserole" that conquered the world. Illus., maps. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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 a "quest for an authentic Indian meal," the author goes on to describe how foods in India have been influenced by other cultures, especially Mughal and Portuguese. Collingham also explores the impact that curry itself has had on foods around the world, most notably foods in Britain. Of particular value is the glossary at the end of the book in which Collingham defines such terms as ghee, toddy, and dhye. The work is complete with an extensive bibliography for future reading on the subject. All libraries will want to add this to their collections.-Nicole Mitchell, Birmingham, AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Marvellous and well-illustrated...based on exhaustive research and
full of intriguing nuggets of information -- Chandak Sengoopta *
A beautifully balanced book, melding historical fact with modern anecdotes... It's the definitive history of curry * Mail on Sunday *
Fascinating and meticulously researched... layers historical fact with mouth-watering dinner table gossip of maharajah's epicurean excesses -- Meera Syal * The Times *
Original and highly entertaining * Daily Mail *