Friday, January 28, 2011

Beyond The Astounding Book Reviews- By: Sana Naseer Shaikh

Curries and Bugles
Jennifer Brennan
Published by Perilous Editions, Hong Kong

A book is the only dispatch in which you can scan a flimsy deliberation devoid of contravention it, or see the sights an quick-tempered initiative exclusive of panic it will go off in your expression.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both frustration and seclusion. Books are the quietest and most unvarying of associates; they are the most easily reached and wisest of counselors, and the most enduring of teachers.

 “We rode (temperature 100% F) to our afternoon (tiger) beat, and missing no time in being ready for tiger this time, so of course we had a long wait, but a funny one, as a big bear came bounding out of the jungle, and the first person he met was Captain Yarded Biller on an elephant. The bear gave him one look and then dashed at a tree in which Captain Wigram sat on a branch. He “booed” at the bear, which sat down with surprise and then rushed to another tree in which Lord Suffolk sat. This was a third shock, so off he bounded only to meet us in our machan, and his surprise was so complete that he sat down fascinated! We were posted in a long line waiting for the tiger, so could see the bear’s adventures, and were shaking with laughter. He bounded up a bank where he met Evey Pelley on an elephant, and this shock was too much, and he bowed a back somersault, and then fled grunting back into the jungle. In a tiger beat no one shoots anything else, but we were all sad not to have got a fastidious black rug.”

An charming collected works of Anglo-Indian recopies and life history. This is much more than just a recipe book, as the above reference on “Picnics and Shikars” implies. This book won “Best Book, Literary Food Writing Award” (2001) from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. It offers hundreds of recipes from Mulligatawny Soup to savoury Chicken overstuffed with Apricots- Includes recipes for spectacular deserts like kulfi and pungent teas, rich with the texture of the British Raj.

The author, daughter of a British general posted in pre-independence India, combines stories of her early days and adolescence which she spent in different spaces in India. By this the reader gains forthcoming from how a colonial household was run to how the British spent their leisure time at Simla and other hill stations. The shrewd reader will determine a culture which no longer exists, except in the oppressive dining room of The Oriental Club, on Oxford Street. It is not politically correct writing since it relies as much on anecdotes as genuine familiarity. On the other hand, it is a welcome change from the Masala and BBC Food channels and will enthuse you enough to enture into the kitchen before the weather turns appalling hot.

Go over the main points: How to make your beloved British Raj concoctions which marry the sensibilities of East and west in the lukewarm, Tropical climate of British India. This is a book of evocative recollections and mouth-watering delights. It may even teach you know to proficiently run your household in the British institution.

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