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Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors Paperback – 6 Jul 2006


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Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors + Rick Stein's India
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099437864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099437864
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Aug 2005
Format: Hardcover
A mouth watering, fascinating read that will keep you entertained until the last page. After-pub curries will not be the same again as friends compete to supply the details and history of the dishes they are sampling!
A very attractive book which you want to pick off the shelf and handle, the pictures and photos are colourful, appealing and the layout and design attractive. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot too. My Christmas present problems are solved for this year as all my friends will be receiving this and I hope someone will buy it for me as I've already lent out my copy and it hasn't yet been returned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy De Ferrars on 10 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Curry - A tale of cooks and conquerors" traces the origins of Indian cuisine from the Mughal courts through British and Portuguese colonial rule to the present day. While Chicken Tikka Massala is now the national dish of the UK, India itself is finally embracing its regional styles of cookery and a true national cuisine is emerging, fueled by the popularity of TV chefs such as Madhur Jaffrey.

This well-researched book is a joy to read, packed with recipes and interesting facts. Did you know that not only do most of the UK's Indian restaurant owners originate from Bangladesh, but that they come from a single small town where ships' captains traditionally recruited low-paid boiler room crew for their steamships? Or that many Indian cafés serve tea in disposable earthenware cups that are smashed on the floor after use to avoid the danger of sharing a cup with someone belonging to another caste or religion? And that far from curry being a means of disguising tainted meat and recycling leftovers (as the British myth would have it), many Indians are vegetarian and regard leftovers as unclean; and that in India meat and poultry are actually consumed freshly-slaughtered and never hung, as in the UK?

This is the best book that I have read in a long time and it was great fun to try the recipes as I went. This is an absolute must for anyone who likes curry and is interested in where their food comes from.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Keenes on 25 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book a lot - it's easy to read and packed with fascinating stories.

However, I do feel it suffers a little from an occasional lack of thoroughness. For example, 'phal' is mentioned twice in the text but on neither occasion is there any explantion of what what a phal curry is, other than that it is hotter than vindaloo, or where it comes from (it is a UK invention).

A passing mention that the Prince Regent enjoyed being 'shampooed' misses an interesting aside - the word 'shampoo' derives from Hindi.

And I wonder slightly when the last time was that the author visited India, as she claims that chai is served in earthenware cups - sadly, this practice is fast-disappearing and you are much more likely to be served it in disposable plastic cups (in my experience at least).

But these are very minor points, and I would defnitely recommend this book to anyone who loves 'curry'.
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By P. Sharples on 20 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fanstastic and comprehensive story about the history and origins of our Nation's favourite food. Some facts will surprise you!
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Format: Kindle Edition
As Someone who enjoys all things curry, eating it, cooking it and writing about it, see my blog

[...]

I have to say it is unusual to find a book such as this that focuses primarily on the history of the how and the why curry came to be called curry, and the international influences that made it what we all love today. Some fantastic stories and some really good history too, all supported with referencing that demonstrates lots of research and hours spent pouring over everything Indian
This is not a recipe book and the recipes that do appear are there as a reference point rather than something that you would wish to use to cook from.

I liked this book very much it is well written by someone who clearly knows their subject and I learnt a lot it and is a must have I would say for anyone that wishes to appreciate that great tradition behind the myriad of dishes that the world now calls Curry.
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By 101 on 18 Dec 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
about the history of curry and its influences from adventurers and invaders and how in turn it has influenced the food around the world.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miran Ali VINE VOICE on 20 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is just the kind of book that's serialised in the Sunday Times.

A potted history of India following the development of its culture and cuisine, hilariously brief in many parts.

Rather than being a history of Indian cooking, it is more a history of the inrtoduction of Indian cuisine in English culture and the acceptance and development of Indian restaurant in England.

Yes, the author does look into the evolution of the various schools of gastronomy in India, but it is all leading up to the focus on England and it's food culture. In all fairness the many interesting vignettes she comes up with, are quite interesting, but a history it is not.

The recipes are interesting and I am sure to try them.

Do not read this, expecting a serious history of Indian food.
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