Curry (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Lizzie Collingham’s small volume Curry is a gem of culinary history. Promoted as “the first authoritative history of Indian food,” the book is based on exhaustive research and includes numerous maps and photographs, a glossary (translating culinary terms, such as ghee, toddy, and garam masala), and an extensive bibliography. Scholarly footnotes are provided for each chapter. Wonderful anecdotes and local legends are interwoven with the historical narrative, and, at the end of every chapter, there are delicious recipes (for four to eight diners) the reader might like to try. Recipes of historical interest are included in the body of the text, but Collingham does not recommend “roast black rat, ” a favorite dish of King Somesvara III, a powerful Hindu king in southern India in the 12th century.
Although Curry is well researched and well written, it is not pedantic. It is totally accessible and entertaining to the average reader. Indophiles or anyone who enjoys culinary history or cooking or eating Indian food will love this book. In addition to the obvious merits of the book, its universal enthusiastic acclaim may be due to the fact that the Indian diaspora and the British have spread some variation of Indian food throughout the world. From curry houses in London to “Curry Row” restaurants in New York City to railway stands in Tokyo, there is a large receptive audience for whom the historical study of the origins of Indian...
(The entire section is 1831 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 12 (February 15, 2006): 23-24.
Library Journal 131, no. 1 (January 1, 2006): 145.
New Statesman 134 (August 1, 2005): 40.
The New York Times 155 (February 1, 2006): E10.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (February 5, 2006): 18.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 46 (November 21, 2005): 40-41.
Science News 169, no. 11 (March 18, 2006): 175.
The Times Literary Supplement, November 18, 2005, pp. 11-12.
(The entire section is 40 words.)