This is the book that best describes the influences that shaped the cuisine in this cookbook. It describes the invaders, the traders and the religions that shaped this food tradition. Lizzie Collingham takes us on a remarkable culinary journey.
It is the book I would love to have written.
Many years ago I worked on the publishing of this cookbook in collaboration with a close friend who has a similar colonial background to me. We had attracted a publisher’s attention and she advised us that if we put history and context into the book it would be far more marketable. Career and family commitments meant it didn’t go as far and as quickly as we would have liked. The project withered and died, unfortunately.
At about the same time we befriended a couple running a very small Indian restaurant in a food hall in Camberwell, a Melbourne suburb. They could only seat around a dozen people, but most of their trade was take-away, notably to Indian people. It was not a curry house, but a small family-run, home-cooking establishment. Again, this idea of why Indian cuisine was the way it was interested one of the owners and me and we started to discuss the concept of documenting it. Alas, family, a career move to Sydney and changing priorities put paid to that idea.
In most of the posts in this cookbook I try to discuss a little of the heritage of the dish. Much comes from my grandmother’s notes, some from later research and a lot is just plain obvious. But, I don’t do it as well as Collingham.
What Collingham has done is describe the why part of Indian cuisine in a remarkably accessible way. Some recipes, but a wealth of stories and history.
You can read about this book on Goodreads.