The Settler's Cookbook

A Memoir Of Love, Migration And Food

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Published: 4 February 2010
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 352 pages
ISBN: 9781846270840
£9.99

Overview

Through the personal story of Yasmin's family and the food and recipes they've shared together, The Settler's Cookbook tells the history of Indian migration to the UK via East Africa. Her family was part of the mass exodus from India to East Africa during the height of British imperial expansion, fleeing famine and lured by the prospect of prosperity under the empire. In 1972, expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin, they moved to the UK, where Yasmin has made her home with an Englishman. The food she cooks now combines the traditions and tastes of her family's hybrid history. Here you'll discover how shepherd's pie is much enhanced by sprinkling in some chilli, Victoria sponge can be enlivened by saffron and lime, and the addition of ketchup to a curry can be life-changing ...


About the author

Image of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a leading commentator on race, multiculturalism and human rights, writing for the Independent and Guardian and appearing regularly on TV and radio. She has won many journalism awards, including the Orwell Prize in 2002. She is also the author of No Place Like Home (1995) and the IPPR report True Colours, on public attitudes to multiculturalism. More about the author


Reviews

‘Alibhai-Brown paints a lively picture of a community that stayed trapped in old ways until it was too late to change ... [a] brave book’

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Reviews

‘Alibhai-Brown's story of acculturation, and her own success as a sharp-minded, at times sharp-tongued, commentator on race, multiculturalism and human rights, is as lively as her journalism.’ Iain Finlayson,

‘For many of us food is the gateway experience into other cultures and lives. Yasmin's personal story intertwined with the foods which mean so much to her touched me deeply. And made me hungry. You can't ask for more’ Gavin Esler

‘In a touching and frank account, she captures an image of a private Asian community who owned most of Uganda's wealth by the time Idi Amin came to power ... Alibhai-Brown moves from African and British politics to the pain of divorce and existential loss, while introducing cookery in an original, seamless and dramatic way, using food not only to inform us about the different culinary cultures she has experienced and interpreted, but also to enhance the stories that she tells.’ Royce Mahawatte

‘Interlaces reminiscences and ruminations on the life of the migrant with mouth-watering recipes.’

‘It is diasporic writing at its best; unpretentious and quirky in its multicultural perspective, expansive in its scope.... The memoir's subtitle could not be more succinct; love and food, two forms of human sustenance, interconnected by migration, lend a poignant emotional and intellectual momentum to the book ...the author displays erudition that shimmers.’ Malcolm Sen

‘Passionate, generous and articulate, Alibhai-Brown has one of the most distinctive voices in British journalism. This engaging book has these qualities in brimming quantity’ Christopher Hirst

‘This is an unexpected joy of a book. Woven around the people, places and dishes that have shaped Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's life, it follows an emotional and culinary journey from childhood in pre-independence Uganda to London in the 21st century ... Her own migration is intimately bound up with the fate of other East African Asians ... It is a story seldom told, and Alibhai-Brown's account of it is fascinating and touching’


Read Extract

I fly into Heathrow in March 1972 feeling blessed by the angels. I am about to start postgraduate studies at Oxford and marry my own True Love (TL), who has been there a year. He is a zoologist, embarked on a DPhil recording the reproductive habits of voles in Wytham Woods. I don't know what...

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Full Extract

I fly into Heathrow in March 1972 feeling blessed by the angels. I am about to start postgraduate studies at Oxford and marry my own True Love (TL), who has been there a year. He is a zoologist, embarked on a DPhil recording the reproductive habits of voles in Wytham Woods. I don't know what voles are. They look like rats in his photos. But heck, it is Oxford. Until we were disabused, we believed England was an orderly, genteel haven, the antithesis of African mayhem. On the flight over, the plane is packed with Asians who consider themselves unbelievably lucky. Life for Asians in Uganda has become perilous; my fellow passengers have fled before they were pushed. Wise philosopher-housewives calm distressed ladies. Tupperware boxes are passed round containing samosas, dhal bhajias, home-made mithai, fried mogo, bright chutneys that inevitably drip. I smile stupidly, shake my head, then rudely turn away to the window. I am not quite one of them, or so I pretend even though my mum makes the same snacks at home. I fear I will smell of garlic and ginger when my TL kisses me. My mouth must be peppermint-sweet when it meets his. What they don't know is I have two boxes of snacks for the ride. One contains hot cashews, picked and roasted at a farm in Mombasa, the other cocothende, a fabulous biscuit covered in a layer of sugary crust you first suck off slowly. Our very own Danish pastry.





 
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