Today I’m taking part in another Round Robin, and this month’s topic is “a favourite food or meal.” Well, since I live very close to Bradford…three guesses what meal I’m going to choose!
Those who don’t live in the UK may not get the answer straightaway, but the rest will probably know that Bradford is the so-called Curry Capital of Britain, and has retained its crown for the past four years. It seems a bit of a cheat to choose a loose term like “curry” for my favourite food, since there are thousands of different types of curry, and this is just a generic term for spicy food originating in Asia. In the US, I believe a curry restaurant is called an Indian restaurant, but in reality curries come from many different countries, each with their own specialities. In the Bradford area, most curry chefs are from Pakistan, and in my particular area, they are mainly from the Bangladesh region. (I’m such a curry connoisseur nowadays, I can often tell where a curry comes from!)
People from India and Pakistan started coming to the Bradford region in the nineteenth century, to work in the woollen mills. Their cuisine has left such a lasting impact that curry has now become the national dish of England – and in particular, a curry called Chicken Tikka Masala. In fact, Chicken Tikka Masala is never found in Asia – it’s a particularly British invention, and just shows how our cultures have become enmeshed one with the other over the years.
Bradford’s cuisine has become synonymous with curry, but there are other cities in the UK that hotly contest
the Curry Capital crown each year. Glasgow is one, and also Birmingham. Manchester has a whole street of curry houses known affectionately as the “curry mile”. I’ve had many an excellent meal on the curry mile, as well as on Brick Lane in London’s East End, which is also famous for its curry restaurants. If a Londoner asks you if you “Fancy a Ruby?” it’s cockney rhyming slang for curry. Ruby Murray is a singer from the fifties. “Going for a Ruby” is such a common term in London that many London curry restaurants are actually called “The Ruby” – another example of how our cultures have entwined.
Curries are quite often very cheap meals and for a long time they had a working-class image. Even now “curry houses” are often found in the more downmarket end of town, but this is absolutely no reflection on the quality of the food. Don’t be fooled by the cheap price and the locale. The chefs are often superb, and I’ve had much nicer meals in some of these curry houses than in far more expensive restaurants.
In my new release, A Way from Heart to Heart, I have the hero and heroine go out for the evening to a curry restaurant in a rundown area of London. The heroine is surprised at the hero’s choice – she always thought he was more a guy for fancy restaurants. She’s even more surprised when the waiter turns out to be a good friend of his. It’s the first of many surprises for the heroine as the story progresses.
As I mentioned above, this post is part of a Round Robin of posts, all on the theme of favourite foods. I’m intrigued to know what my fellow authors are going to choose as theirs! You can find out by clicking on the links below, so please take a moment to call in on them.
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/
Ginger Simpson http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Rachael Kosnski http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/
Do you like curries? Have you ever had a curry on the curry mile or in London’s Brick Lane? Do you have curry restaurants in your part of the world? If you have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!