East is East and West is West: Pondicherry and French Curry

In Pondicherry, Pondichéry, or Puducherry as it is now called again (since 2006), you still see streets sparkling with old colonial buildings, dating back to a time when passersby heard French spoken daily. Yet, those buildings, policemen’s hats, and a fully functioning French lycée or school, are among the few overt signs that you’ll notice … More East is East and West is West: Pondicherry and French Curry

Ats Jaar: Possible Origins of the Practice of Pickling in the Antebellum American South

A little prickle of recognition, a sense of déjà vu — that’s what happened when I turned to page 86 of A Colonial Plantation Cookbook: The Receipt Book of Harriott Pinckney Horry, 1770 (1984, edited by historian Richard J. Hooker*). There it was: “Ats Jaar, or Pucholilla.” My first thought was, “What is an Indian … More Ats Jaar: Possible Origins of the Practice of Pickling in the Antebellum American South

The British Melting Pot

I recently ran across these books, mentioned on an interesting British Web site providing glimpses and glances at cookbooks published in Britain, cookbooks that we here in the US of A rarely see. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems that the British cookbook market features more books concerned with other cultures and not so … More The British Melting Pot

To Balance, Strength, Love, Faith, and Hope:* Jehangir Mehta’s Mantra

Reflecting the ayurvedic principle of balance, chef Jehangir Mehta’s cookbook, Mantra: The Rules of Indulgence (2008), carries the imaginative use of flavorings to nirvanaic levels. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Indian-born Mehta draws on the centuries-old practices found in Indian cuisine and combines them in startling ways with many traditional Western, and … More To Balance, Strength, Love, Faith, and Hope:* Jehangir Mehta’s Mantra

“Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: The British Raj Encore

In 1859, George Francklin Atkinson, a captain of the Bengal Engineers and a writer of some imagination as well as artistic skill, published “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: or the Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station” in India. Illustrated with forty drawings, or the “plates” in question, Atkinson’s fictitious account of life in … More “Curry & Rice” on Forty Plates: The British Raj Encore