You get two blogs for the price of one today as I am going to be busy getting the house ready tomorrow for one of our curry lunches. It is on Sunday but I know if I leave the dusting to Saturday something will turn up to distract me – like re-blog Saturday and preparing for the Sunday Show (plug).
Thankfully I don’t have to worry about cooking the main course as the master of the curry in our house is my husband David. As Irish lad of 18 he went to sea in a beautiful BP boat (with an owl and a pussycat of course). He was at sea for several years and during this time he learned the art of making a curry – of varying styles and strengths from the Indian and Goan stewards on board.
He has put this skill to great use on our various excursions to live in various parts of the world, and certainly in Houston in the 1980’s spicy usually meant a large group of us rolling up to Papasitos Cantina on I-45 to drink margheritas and eat chilli or sizzling fajitas with green salsa. However, on our arrival we threw the first of many curry parties in the apartment complex where we lived and David’s curry recipe is still rolling around in the humidity we understand.
My introduction to curry came at an earlier age. My father was stationed in Ceylon as it was then named and I was 18 months old on our arrival. The navy has always had a lively social calendar on these overseas postings and this one was no exception. In addition it was expected for my father to have a cook and houseboy (this was 1955) and as my mother was at coffee mornings (sherry really) and lunches and they were out to dinners a great deal, I had an amah or nanny. Our cook was called Arnas (I am reliably informed) and apparently he curried every meal from scrambled eggs in the morning through to dinner time.
My eldest sister and my Amah with my first racing bike!
It is fair to say that I was weaned onto mild curry and I am not sure if it was the fragrant scents in the air or the colour of the surroundings but I do have faint memories of our time there. There were quite a few adventures with leopards on jungle roads and monkeys who would break in and adorn themselves with my mother’s bling and her lipstick. There were very large snakes and I do remember being hustled upstairs on a couple of occasions by my amah, who was also my bodyguard, when jungle dwellers tried to take back their environment!
My parents, my two elder sisters (foster mums after school, swimming teachers and dress smockers) and me dressed up for a curry party in 1956.
My parents continued the tradition of Gin and Tonics with a curry lunch on their return to the UK – much to the surprise of guests who turned up for a roast and two veg! As children we loved all the bits that my mother cut up to go with the curry. Chopped banana, tomato, sultanas, coconut and diced onions. Mango chutney was generously slapped on the side and there generally would be silence for at least half an hour which was highly unusual with three girls, a younger brother and my mother. My father adopted the role of chief curry maker and in his 70’s turned his hand to Chinese cuisine and became master of the wok.
My parents took curry lunches to Malta and South Africa and we in turn have taken it to America, Belgium, Ireland and now Spain.
We are delighted that our new friends here in Spain also love this tradition and with the sun shining and temperatures due to be around 20 degrees on Sunday, thirteen of us will retire to the balcony to indulge and create new memories.
I am sorry that you will not be joining us but I hope that you too have a meal that brings back memories of exotic places, good friends and family, and becomes a tradition that is carried on for generations.