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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At least three books in one, 17 April 2009
By 
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This excellent book deserves the highest praise.

1. It is a fascinating history of the Asian Community in Africa. It tells of how the community was established, their harrowing fate, in Uganda, under the brutal regime of Idi Amin, and their shameful treatment when they arrived in Britain.

2. It is an intensely personal autobiography. The author is at times shockingly open about her feelings about her parents, her family, her husbands and her children. She is also brutally honest about herself and her own falibilities.

3. It is of course a cook book with a mouthwatering succession of recipes which reflect the development of the author's life story.

So what makes the book so good. Firstly anyone who is familiar with Alibhai Brown's work in the Independent and elsewhere will not be surprised to know that it is beautifully written. Secondly it is facsinating to read about well known events from a different cultural perspective. Thirdly, it is just such a human account. It is writen by this stunningly intelligent , enormously successful woman, but we learn all about her inner demons and weaknessesd. Massively affecting.

Buy it, read it, it's magnificent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid, touching and fascinating life story. Brilliant., 4 Jan 2011
By 
Sarah Hope (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This book covers the moving story of Yasmin's origins and life, starting with the little known history of East African Indians. It's a beautifully written book which conveys her close relationship with her mother and her difficult relationship with her often absent and woefully inadequate father. Horrific details emerge of life in Uganda under Idi Amin before Yasmin migrates to the UK. She portrays the racism she has encountered both in Africa and the UK with resilience and, at times, humour. Her two love stories are poignantly told as she bares her soul to the reader. We know Yasmin in the press as an outspoken journalist and a reformist Muslim, and her portrayal of some of the varied political and cultural issues in the UK over the last 3-4 decades since she arrived are fascinating. Memorable sections include her opinions on Muslim women covering up, handing back her MBE and the difficulties facing a parent of a teenage daughter in 2009. This colourful autobiography is brought to life all the more by numerous recipes which help tell her life story. It's a wonderful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and refreshing, 23 Nov 2011
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This is rather different from other the food-and-memoirs books that I have read, in that it concentrates far more on the latter than the former. It is furthermore, not just a personal biography, but the history of the Asian Community in Africa from establishment until the expulsions under the regime of Idi Amin, and the subsequent treatment of the African Asians when they arrived in Britain. Again, other books of this kind tend to look back at the past in a rosy haze, but the author here is realistic and analytical in her writing - as one would expect from such a notable journalist - both when considering political and social situations, and her own personal life. This is actually one of the best and most engrossing biographies I have ever read.

The recipes are actually quite brief and 'no frills' - those who like photographs of the finished dishes will not find them here, neither are there lengthy explnations of techniques. The pared down recipes are the sort a cook might write as an aide memoire to herself, and therefore might not be suitable for an inexperienced cook. It is well worth reading, however, as a biography, even if you skip the recipes.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful and personal, 24 April 2009
Reading this book was like being taken on an immensely powerful and liberating journey.I admire the total frankness and emotional honesty of the author who really has 100% put their heart and soul into their writing.The extent of the candour is refreshing but its much much more than that, its not only the extent of the openess but the style of it that makes this book such a rewarding read.Its hard to describe but Yasmin manages to share her life and a very big piece of her soul with the reader without being exhibitionist or tacky.Its what an autobiography should be at its best--truthful,revealing,challenging and geniune.Many autobiographies today have a synthetic ,monochrome ,manufactured almost quality to them.
For anybody who yearns for something of more substance and quality this is the autobiography for you.Family, religion,tragedy,tribalism,courage and admirable determination and gumption are all covered vividly and in great depth.
The depths and nature of the emotionally complex journey and events of Yasmins life are laid bare--she definitely has a gift for conveying emotional depth and breadth.You will not feel cheated or shortchanged if you read this book ,you will not feel that anything has been held back.It will leave you feeling like a respectful observer of events rather than an exploited or exploitiative reader.Certainly one of the best autobiographies I have read.
As one of britains finest and most perceptive columnists who seeks neither fear or favour when penning her articles, Yasmins lifestory was always going to be colourful and interesting but the fact its so well written makes it fascinating and worthwhile.An excellent and highly enjoyable read.Admirable.

Oh and did I mention it has some very appetising recipes in it too...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Settlers Cookbook - review, 11 April 2009
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Excellent book. Enjoyable and insightful. My wife is of an Indian family, born in Kisumu (Kenya), and moving to the UK when she was just two. There is so much here that has become familiar to me over the years, and it gives perspectives that I can't really pick up simply from contact with her family. I hope we can persuade our boys to dip into it some day, and pick up a bit more on this half of their heritage.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Settler's Cookbook, 24 April 2009
The book surpassed the Radio 4 serialisation. The author's love of her homeland and her food heritage shines through. Her experiences in Uganda demonstrate that the human spirit refuses to be cowed by evil. It is an informative, entertaining and enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book, minus the recipes, should be a set book in schools!, 12 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Settler's Cookbook: A Memoir Of Love, Migration And Food: Tales of Love, Migration and Food (Kindle Edition)
Fantastic. I bought the book because I thought it would be my story too as I am also a Ungandan born Indian migrant. However it is uniquely Yasmin's story but I was hooked from the first page to the last. I did skip the recipes because some I know how to cook and others I am not interested in. They felt like an interruption in the narrative and not always weaved in as naturally as I would have liked. I don't really understand why she included them in except as a devise to add another dimension and attract readers who would not usually read this type of book? I consider this an important book and have asked all my family to read it. The book is extremely well written and enjoyable. I love the way the author has also woven in comment on British politics. The book is honest, fearless and very current despite dealing with an historical event. More please Yasmin!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting presentation of lots of good recipes, 18 Jan 2013
By 
J. A. Bailey (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Settler's Cookbook: A Memoir Of Love, Migration And Food: Tales of Love, Migration and Food (Kindle Edition)
Interesting presentation of lots of good recipes sprinkled amongst tales of Ugandan Asian life. The recipes might be more usefully presented in a physical book but this on line version is so cheap and you can always "bookmark" the recipes you like.

These are clearly genuine family recipes and a joy to browse.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 30 Jun 2010
By 
Spratly (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Yasmin Alibhai-Browns 'The settler's cookbook: A Memoir of Love, Migration and Food' is very much in the same style as the equally wonderful 'Hallelujah! Welcome to the table' by Maya Angelou.

This book has everything. Fantastic 'real' recipes, love, humour, tragedy and sadness,through the generations. Written with honesty and a true and touching affection for a past life and a more modern future. I loved the style of writing intertwined with delicious looking recipes making this book a compelling read and leaving the reader with much curiosity to search out the ingredients to try and recreate some fabulous sounding food.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 17 May 2009
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Although I haven't finished this book, it's a wonderful insight into the Ugandan Asians, their life, their food. Yasmin is such a great writer. Can't wait to read the rest of it.
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