Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

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Overview


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 ...

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Overview


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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Editorial Reviews

William Grimes
With the Raj, Curry really hits its stride. Ms. Collingham skillfully weaves her way through the complex cultural transactions that yielded a specialized Anglo-Indian cuisine based, in large part, on mutual misunderstanding. The English were used to starting a meal with soup. The Indians do not divide meals into courses, and have no soup. Liquids are poured over rice. Nevertheless, eager to please, Indian cooks in Madras used the most souplike dish ready to hand, a peppery tamarind broth called molo tunny, and jazzed it up with rice, vegetable and meat. This cultural mishmash became an Anglo-Indian classic, mulligatawny soup. Many others followed.
— The New York Times
Alison McCulloch
To the growing list of food microhistories with punchy titles, like Salt, Cod and Spice, add Curry, a lively study of Indian cooking from the Mogul Empire of the 1600's to Utsav in 21st-century Manhattan, one of the "new breed" of Indian restaurants. It's a long but tasty journey, made easily digestible by Collingham.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
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.
Library Journal
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 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Part world map, part menu, this book is entirely delicious."--Time Magazine

"Cooks should relish Curry."--USA Today

"A lively study of Indian cooking from the Mogul Empire of the 1600s to Utsav in 21st-century Manhattan, one of the 'new breed' of Indian restaurants. It's a long but tasty journey, made easily digestible by Collingham."--Alison McCullough, New York Times Book Review

"Fascinating.... Collingham skillfully weaves her way through the complex cultural transactions that yielded a specialized Anglo-Indian cuisine based, in large part, on mutual misunderstanding.... One of her goals, in tracing the evolution of curry and the global spread of Indian cuisine, is to pull the rug out from under the idea that India, or any other nation, ever had a cuisine that was not constantly in the process of assimilation and revision. The very dishes, flavors and food practices that we think of as timelessly, quintessentially Indian turn out to be, as often as not, foreign imports or newfangled inventions. That includes chili peppers and tea."--William Grimes, The New York Times

"Her research and personal ruminations take the reader on an intriguing, colorful journey, dispelling any notion that curry as we know it is fixed, immutable or, for that matter, completely Indian.... She convincingly demonstrates that the foods of a country or region are inextricably linked to the historical, cultural and economic forces that shaped it and the people who ruled it."--Judith Weinraub, Washington Post Book World

"Collingham tells the story of how the culinary habits of conquerors and conquered got jumbled up in India with great flair, drawing on historical records and local lore to color her tale."--Time Magazine, Asia

"This delightful book is liberally sprinkled with colorful historical facts and anecdotes, adding spice to the fascinating story of one of India's signature gifts to the world."--Seattle Times

"Collingham is a diligent researcher with an eye to a compelling or amusing detail or quotation. Her book is therefore packed with information, and perhaps best read in small portions, so each can be savored.... Her recipes are alluring. They come at the end of the chapters, and the history therein makes them all the more enticing. They are adapted to Western kitchens, so this is a book that serious cooks will enjoy, as will anyone interested in the many regions with their varied climates, histories and cultures that make up modern India."--Claire Hopley, Washington Times

"Scholarly, accessable and above all utterly original, Curry is one of the hottest and most mouth-watering books of non-fiction about India to appear for many years. Lizzie Collingham has shown herself to be a major new talent in the field."--William Dalrymple, author of White Mughals

"An interesting story that's 5 parts history, 1 part culinary, and wholly entertaining to read.... Collingham couples excellent story telling with exhaustive research. The result is a historical perspective on Indian fare that is as mouth watering as it is informative."--DCist.com

"Like a fragrant biryani studded with bits of sweet and savory relishes, every page of this history of Indian cuisine offers some revelation about the origins of Indian food and its spread to the West."--Booklist

"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."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Curry should be handed round with the poppadoms. A mouth-watering book, exhaustively researched, rich in anecdote and sprinkled with recipes both sumptuous (three pages on how to prepare chicken biriyani) and less so (twelfth-century instructions for roasting black rat), it provides the perfect stimulus for the next step--the giant leap from curry powder and chicken tikka masala to the real delights of the most varied, imaginative and delicious cuisine in the world"--Literary Review

"Successfully depicts the vivid history of Indian foods and cooking. Curry is richly peppered with illustrations, maps, and, of course, recipes.... All libraries will want to add this to their collections."--Library Journal

"From the influence of Moghul and Portugese to Britons, the book traces the evolution, transformation and reincarnation of curry, with rich anecdotes and tempting recipes. Lizzie Collingham has woven a fascinating culinary cruise that also enlightens us about India's history through its most popular export, the curry." --Mira Advani Honeycutt, Food and Wine Writer

"Lizzie Collingham's Curry is a spicy tale, well researched and deliciously told. She unveils the secrets behind one of the world's most important yet mysterious condiments. It's a great read with plenty of tasty recipes." --Andrew F. Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

"Lizzie Collingham's love and passion for Indian food and flavors is well depicted in the book. It seems that she painstakingly researched the origin, history and lore of Indian food. I was very captivated by the stories and discovered that they tied into many of the lessons I have learned from the cooks I had worked with in India during my culinary profession. I think that this is a definite read for all Indophiles and will be one of the books I will recommend to my cooks and guests interested in food from the subcontinent."--Executive Chef Floyd Cardoz, Tabla & Bread Bar

"Finally a book that does justice to the complexity of curry and the diaspora that carried it around the world. Curry is rigorous and yet playful about a cuisine that belongs to everyone in all its hybridity and yet cannot be traced back to any one place. It does not shy away from the topography of imperial British power that shaped the curry in its dispersal through indentured servitude and the British merchant marine, while at the same time acknowledging that curry is how the empire strikes back." --Krishnendu Ray, author of The Migrant's Table and Associate Professor, The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park

"What this smart little book does is unpick some of the pathways by which various meats, fish, fruits and rice came together at particular moments in history to produce, say, a lamb pasanda or even our own particular favorite, chicken tikka masala ('curry,' it turns out, is a generic term that Indians themselves would never use)."--Kathryn Hughes, Guardian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195320015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 803,264
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet 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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    To bob the kitty

    You are a big fat butthead idiot retarded stupid toiletmouth dumbutt peebrain fartblossom poopface barbell bumbo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Riolu and growlithe bio

    GENDER: male AGE: 14 for both ATTACKS FOR RIOLU: Aura sphere focus blast force palm extreme speed. Growlithe moves: fire blast flame thrower extreme speed crunch
    Personlity of riolu: hard trainer and will fight for freinds at any cost
    Personality of Growlithe: Care free but enjoys training and fighting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    READ THIS

    Why r u people doing dumb rp stuff its annoying when people want a book! :( From Bob the kitty

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    Posted August 20, 2013

    Oshawott's Bio

    Name: Oshawott. Gender: Male. Level:15. Known Moves: Water Gun,Shell Blade,X-Scissor,Revenge

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    Posted July 22, 2013

    Espeons bio

    Gender: girl. Age: ? Moves: psychic,morning sun, quick attack, confusion.

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    Posted July 20, 2013

    Foxtrot bio

    Name. Foxtrot. Speicies. Eevee. Level. 6. Team. With eevee. No name yet. Moves. Bite quick attack tackle sand attack. Other. When in dungeons rps the monsters abd places the items and poke. In the town she rps the store managers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Sleet and Splash's bios

    Nickname: Sleet /// Type: Umbreon /// Gender: &female /// Level: 14 /// Moves: Quick Attack, Assist, Crunch, and Metal Claw. /// Ability: Intimidate <br>
    Nickname: Splash /// Type: Cincinno /// Gender: &female /// Level: 14 /// Moves: Sing, Encore, Swift, and Cut. /// Ability: Contrarie

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    Posted July 19, 2013

    Typhlosion bio

    Moves: fire blast, earthquake, flamethrower, and firespin. Level 65. Info: UNKNOWN.

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    Posted July 17, 2013

    Axew's Bio

    Name: Axew. Age: Does it really matter in a pokemon? Gender: Boy. Moves: Scratch, Assurance, Dragon Rage, Dual Chop. Level:10. Hp: 41. Type: Dragon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    A fascinating look at the history of famous Indian foods.

    A fascinating look at the history of famous Indian foods.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    From kings to peasants (and vice versa), from Rajasthan to London (and beyond), follow the food trail of curries and our love for all they marry.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    INSIRING

    This little volue introduced our bookclub to a cuisine rich in history and foods that are heavenly. It inspired a great potluck meal and spurred us to explore the Indian groceries and restaurants in our area. Great recipies! Wonderful history.

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