Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

by Lizzie Collingham

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199883813
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/06/2006
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

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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Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Gender: girl. Age: ? Moves: psychic,morning sun, quick attack, confusion.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating look at the history of famous Indian foods.
PixieRM More than 1 year ago
Our book club chose "Food" as the theme of the year and, after reading one too many sets of receipe-filled, magazine-article collections, we wanted something more substantive. One member suggested this; we loved the color of the cover and the concept of delving deeply into one topic. The book was out of print but my local B&N found a copy for me. Our club loved the book but all agreed that it was slow starter. Give it your attention through the initial chapter(s) and, after that, there will be no stopping you. Having lived and traveled widely in most of the countries referenced in the curry path, each cuisine returned to my salivating mouth as I read how the Persian fruited and nutted rice moved into northern India and how yoguert drinks balanced the hot flavors stimulated from the peppers transported from the Americans. The author hits her stride as she marries history, geography, tastes, trade, trade routes, and colonialism. The facts are startling: did you know that rhubarb originated in middle India? You want to head to your local Indian curry house to order-in as the author describes how curries migrated to High Street and become English fare and globally-familiar to all.