Friday, June 22, 2007

Thackeray on Curry

William Makepeace Thackeray, whose grandfather (of identical name) earned all of his fortune in India (in the elephant trade), was so enamored by "curry" that a wrote a "Poem to Curry" in the literary (and satirical) magazine "Punch".

Incidentally, the recipe is "accurate" inasmuch as it depicts the stereotypical view of "curry" that was marketed to the British in the 18th and 19th century.

Yep, "curry" in England was a product of marketing! (and predictably, around the time of Queen Victoria becoming "Empress of India", the British went nuts about all things Indian.)

Once you understand this, the concept of Jubilee Chicken and Coronation Chicken will no longer seem that mysterious.

Three pounds of veal my darling girl prepares,
And chops it nicely into little squares;
Five onions next prures the little minx
(The biggest are the best, her Samiwel thinks),
And Epping butter nearly half a pound,
And stews them in a pan until they’re brown’d.
What’s next my dexterous little girl will do?
She pops the meat into the savoury stew,
With curry-powder table-spoonfuls three,
And milk a pint (the richest that may be),
And, when the dish has stewed for half an hour,
A lemon’s ready juice she’ll o’er it pour.
Then, bless her! Then she gives the luscious pot
A very gentle boil - and serves quite hot.
PS - Beef, mutton, rabbit, if you wish,
Lobsters, or prawns, or any kind fish,
Are fit to make a CURRY. ‘Tis, when done,
A dish for Emperors to feed upon.

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