old India cookbook

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I ran across a new edition of a classic cookbook written for British housewives in 19th-century India. Remarkable book.  It covers cooking, housekeeping, gardening, animal husbandry, and relations with native servants.  It throws light (some of it glaring in retrospect)  on the relationship between colonial England and colonized India.  There is solid practical advice, such as the recommendation to English wives to spend the hottest months in the hills rather than stick it out on the plains and end up so debilitated that it then becomes necessary to spend several years recuperating in England.  There’s a chapter on the special challenges of running a missionary household or living in a camp.  And there are recipes for making English food in India, and descriptions of Indian foods and ingredients.  The book is:

The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook by Flora Annie Steel & Grace Gardiner, ed. Ralph Crane and Anna Johnston, Oxford University Press 2010.


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