Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
Richly evocative memoir of childhood, filled with the tastes of India, by bestselling cookery writer.
'I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi. When I was a few minutes old, Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing "Om", which means "I am" in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a little finger dipped in honey. When the family priest arrived to draw up my horoscope, he scribbled astrological symbols on a long scroll and set down a name for me, Indrani, or "queen of the heavens". My father ignored him completely and proclaimed my name was to be Madhur ("sweet as honey").'
So begins Madhur Jaffrey's enchanting memoir of her childhood in India. Her description of growing up a in a very large, wealthy family (half a train was booked to transport the family from Delhi to the mountains for the summer) conjures up the spirit of a long lost age. Whether climbing the mango trees in her grandparents' orchard, armed with a mixture of salt, pepper, red chillies and roasted cumin, or enjoying picnics in the foothills of the Himalayas, reached by foot, rickshaw, palanquin or horse, where meatballs stuffed with sultanas and mint leaves, cauliflowers flavoured with ginger and coriander, and spiced pooris with hot green mango pickle were devoured, food forms a major leitmotiv of this beautifully written memoir. With recipes drawn from memories of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, weddings and picnics, moving effortlessly from the lamb meatballs of Moghul emperors to the tamarind chutneys of the streets, this book will appeal to keen armchair cooks, as well as fans of Madhur the world over.
Now regarded by many as the world authority on Indian food, Madhur Jaffrey is an award-winning actress and bestselling cookery author. Her first book, An Invitation to Indian Cookery, was published in 1973 and her series for BBC television Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery made her a household name. She has appeared in over 20 films, including Merchant Ivory's Heat and Dust, and written over 15 cookery books, including Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible (2003), published by Ebury Press.