So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Cookbook of the day – A World of Curries

A World of Curries

A World of Curries: From Bombay to Bangkok, Java to Jamaica, Exciting Cookery Featuring Fresh and Exotic Spices (Paperback)

by Dave DeWitt and Arthur Pais

  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P); 1st edition (March 1994)  
  • ISBN-10: 0316182249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182249
  • If you say “curry” to the average American, they’ll think of curry powder and curried rice or chicken. Say “curry” to a Brit and she’ll think “Indian”. Say “curry” to the average foodie and the mind wanders to Thailand and Vietnam in addition to India. But there’s a whole world of curries out there that’s just begging to be exposed. And Dave DeWitt, the famous chile pepper author-dude, is just the guy to do it, with a lot of help from Arthur Pais.

    If there’s a more comprehensive book on curries around the world, I don’t know what it might be. For instance, there’s a whole chapter just on Spice Island curries, in which they roll in most of Indonesia (Bali, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, etc.) There are discussions and recipes of Caribbean curries, a detailed roll-call of African curries, from the well known  Saharan harissa and ras-al-hanout based dishes to the more exotic Nigerian and Ethiopian varieties of curry dishes. Fiji gets into the act and even New Zealand and Australia aren’t exempt. Obviously, there’s a lengthy discussion of Indian and Thai, and includes other neighbors such as Laos, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (formerly Burma). It includes in its recipes the main difference between Vietnamese and its close cousin Thai (the addition of potatoes/taro root/sweet potatoes in Vietnamese is one of the things that differentiate the very similar flavor profiles, although some US Pho shops seem to unfortunately take the easy way out and do bascially a Chinese curry powder verson). Cambodia is even covered.

    Hell, there are 6 pages just on the origins of the word and the various internecine arguments between cultures as to what a curry is (and isn’t). Each region gets a comprehensive history and cultural lesson that’s as complete as an Encyclopedia Britannica entry (probably more so). Lots of antique woodcuts of camels and Rajes and no photographs of dishes at all. This is pure knowledge at its best.

    Well-researched and well-written, this is the one book to own if you were to only own one book on curry.

    Indonesian chicken curry

    Indonesian Chicken Curry (Kalio Ayam)

    Photo courtesy of Dhita Beechey. See her great cooking blog, Cooking Etcetera at http://www.cookingetcetera.com/

     

    One response to “Cookbook of the day – A World of Curries

    1. Dave DeWitt June 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks for the plug on my out-of-print book! You’re readers might like to know that an abridged version exists on my Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite. Also called “A World of Curries,” there are a lot more illustrations, including food shots. See? I figured out what to do with out-of-print books–recycle, recycle!

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