Lost in Translation? The Journey of Indian Food in the British Empire.
In 1851 the author of a popular English cookbook informed her readers that few dinners were thought complete unless a curry was on the table. But an Indian visitor to England in 1835 did not recognise as Indian food the ‘hash flavoured with turmeric and cayenne’ which the British regarded as an Indian curry. Something appeared to have been lost in translation. Surprisingly, a bush curry Afro-Guyanese diamond miners cooked up in Georgetown, in 1993 bore more resemblance to British curries of the nineteenth century than any Indian dish. And yet Indian food was transported to Guyana by indentured labourers, enticed into working on Britain’s Caribbean sugar plantations for the promise of Rs 5 a month, and a daily ration of rice, dhal, and curry stuff. In the course of the talk I will show how this could have come about.Book Tickets