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Climbing the Mango Trees
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Richly evocative memoir of childhood, filled with the tastes of India, by bestselling cookery writer 20040902

About the Author

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 Cookerymade 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.

Reviews

Readers will be surprised to learn in this culinary memoir that Jaffrey (An Invitation to Indian Cooking), one of the best-known writers on Indian cuisine, actually failed home economics. Although she later learned to prepare the traditional Indian food of her childhood, her early culinary education was primarily concerned with outdated recipes from British colonial days. What is not surprising is that Jaffrey, a descendant of a long line of record-keeping Kayastha Hindus, is a gifted and generous writer. She shares treasured recollections of how her close-knit family lived in Delhi, conveying the safety and warmth of the presence of many siblings and cousins, the love of food and learning, and the unease and disturbance of the partition of India and Pakistan. Thirty-seven photographs of the author and her family are scattered throughout. There are more than 30 family recipes, including Phulkas (a kind of Indian flatbread), Mung Bean Fritters, and Ground Lamb Samosas, all written in Jaffrey's easy style. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.]-Rosemarie Lewis, Broward Cty. P.L., Ft. Lauderdale, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

The celebrated actress and author of several books on Indian cooking turns her attention to her own childhood in Delhi and Kampur. Born in 1933 as one of six children of a prosperous businessman, Jaffrey grew up as part of a huge "joint family" of aunts, uncles and cousins-often 40 at dinner-under the benign but strict thumb of Babaji, her grandfather and imperious family patriarch. It was a privileged and cosmopolitan family, influenced by Hindu, Muslim and British traditions, and though these were not easy years in India, a British ally in WWII and soon to go though the agony of partition (the separation and formation of Muslim Pakistan), Jaffrey's graceful prose and sure powers of description paint a vivid landscape of an almost enchanted childhood. Her family and friends, the bittersweet sorrows of puberty, the sensual sounds and smells of the monsoon rain, all are remembered with love and care, but nowhere is her writing more evocative than when she details the food of her childhood, which she does often and at length. Upon finishing this splendid memoir, the reader will delight in the 30 "family-style" recipes included as lagniappe at the end. Photos. (Oct. 11) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Wistful, funny and tremendously satisfying. . . . Jaffrey's taste memories sparkle with enthusiasm, and her talent for conveying them makes the book relentlessly appetizing." --"The New York Times Book Review" "Do not attempt to read [this] mouth-wateringly evocative memoir on an empty stomach. . . . A delicious tribute to a deeply rooted, multicultural upbringing." --"Newsday" "A sharp observer with a pleasing eye for sensual detail, Jaffrey weaves a richly textured story in which she effortlessly mingles quotidian drams with historic events." --"People Magazine" "Her story reads like a novel and evokes images worthy of a Merchant-Ivoryproduction. You can practically taste sun warmed mangoes plucked from the tree, the barley-sugar candy that holds a hallowed place in the author's memory." --"The Seattle Times"

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