Curry:A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $3.39 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Curry: A Tale of Cooks an... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Great Binding. Shows some wear, but it is clean.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors Paperback – May 1, 2007


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.56
$8.23 $2.75

Mother's Day Gift Ideas in Books
Browse delectable cookbooks, notable biographies, sweet tales for little ones, and more to find the perfect gift for mom. Learn more
$13.56 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors + Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History
Price for both: $24.29

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Today Only: Up to 80% Off Books from Best-Selling Series on Kindle
Discover a new series or continue reading your favorite. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195320018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195320015
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like a fragrant biryani studded with bits of sweet and savory relishes, every page of this history of Indian cuisine offers some revelation about the origins of Indian food and its spread to the West. Historian Collingham traces how successive invasions of the subcontinent contributed new ingredients and novel cooking techniques that transformed indigenous cooking into what we now recognize as classic Indian cuisine. Early invasions from the northwest brought rice, and Persian pilau became Hindustani biryani. Portuguese sailors imported pork and Brazilian chili peppers to create vindaloo. Collingham describes how the regal courts of the various Indian states elaborated on all these foodstuffs to produce what may have been the most sumptuous banquets the world has ever known. Most surprising of all, Collingham's ruminations address the role of tea in India. Although it is a commonplace that today's India is the world's leading producer and consumer of tea, Indians drank very little tea until the British introduced it scarcely a century ago. Recipes, both contemporary and antique, supplement the text. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested to learn more about curries and history.
Sambal Queen
This book covers the different groups that invaded India, and covers the specific foods, and attitudes towards food, that the invaders brought with them.
Fireside Chat
Well-written, exhaustively researched, and with a very interesting topi, this is an intriguing book.
Marcy L. Thompson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Yaakov Ben Shalom on May 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is more than a history of Indian cuisine. It is a history of India as reflected in its food. Each chapter is ostensibly the history of a certain dish (biryani, vindaloo, korma, curry), but it is also a history of a certain era in Indian history and how Indian food changed in that era.

Collingham argues that there is no such thing as "authentic" Indian cooking. Indian cooking has developed largely through the influence of outside powers invading the subcontinent and bringing a new set of ingredients or tastebuds with it. These new ingredients and tastes mixed with what was already there, adding a new layer to Indian cookery. Mughal tastes led to the invention of biryani. The Portuguese brought peppers from the New World and their Indian chefs created vindaloo. Cooks for the British essentially invented curry to suit British tastes.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book--and one overlooked by most reviewers--is its sources. Collingham has read dozens of historic accounts of travel through India. Some Mughal, some British, some French. These travelogues from the Middle Ages through the 19th century provide a fascinating window into Indian life and food at the time. These are complemented by contemporaneous recipes (and modern ones) for dishes from a given era.

You will learn how Indian cuisine developed and you will learn how India developed, and you will discover that both were the result of new influences meeting with the old India over centuries.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Vimalakirti on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Collingham's book, while quite well-written and easy to read, is also a substantial piece of scholarship. Among other things, Collingham is excellent in her de-bunking of the myth of an "authentic" Indian food. Any historian of medieval and early modern India knows that what we now think of as distinctively Indian is a hybrid of numerous cultures. After all, the chili pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes only arrived in India with the Portuguese starting in the 16th century!

Her chai recipe is also quite good. (Why would you ever buy the pre-mixed stuff from the store?)
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sathya Srinivasan on August 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I saw this book, I was pretty intrigued and thought I would find an interesting read into my culinary background. However, as I read along, I was heavily disappointed and at times taken aback by the gross oversimplification and glossed over half-truths that were scattered throughout the book.

The book's fundamental premise is that the Indian food and flavors as experienced by many through Indian restaurants throughout the world is really not 'authentic' and was really introduced by various tribes that invaded India starting from the 16th century - from the Persians to the British. The premise is first of many half, quarter or even less truths in the book.

If the premise is taken as is - that is - the Indian food that one normally consumes, is not authentic, then it is true. Most of the items sold in Indian restaurants (authentic or otherwise) is primarily from North India - which in turn, was heavily influenced by Mughals over 300 years. Does that mean that "all" Indian food is authentic? Absolutely not. It is similar to saying that "General Tsao's chicken" is an American invention and hence all Chinese food was introduced by USA! It reminds me of a recent episode when a Chinese colleague of mine came to USA, tasted Chinese food at a famous restaurant and declared that this was in no way "Chinese".

Fundamentally, any cuisine taken out of its country of origin would not be authentic - in most cases, it is modified to suit the taste of the target audience. Moreover, the flavors and freshness of the ingredients are not truly reflected in other places. The author seems oblivious to this point or has conveniently chosen to ignore it.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Miran Ali on October 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is just the kind of book that's serialised in the Sunday Times (the one printed in England).

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.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marcy L. Thompson VINE VOICE on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well-written, exhaustively researched, and with a very interesting topi, this is an intriguing book. I enjoyed reading it, and getting an overall perspective on curry, to go with my exhaustive eating experiences both in the US and in India.

If there were more recipes, I'd have given it 5 stars. If there were no recipes, I'd have given it 5 stars. I found in inclusion of only a few recipes distracting, hence the 4 stars.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: south indian cook

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors
This item: Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors
Price: $16.95 $13.56
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com