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Curry
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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...

About the Author

Lizzie Collingham is a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. This is her first book for the general reader. She is the author of a scholarly book, about the 'nabobs' of the British raj, which was published by Polity Press in 2001. She has a PHD in History from Cambridge, and at the university of Sussex won the Rose Prize for the best History finalist. Educated also in Germany and Sweden, she has been a lecturer at Warwick University and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. She is married and lives part of the year in France, part in East Anglia.

Reviews

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 * Independent *
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 *

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