A family affair – A guest post by my Husband

This is a fun post.  Some of you who are my regular readers, may remember that we started a tradition last year by introducing a curry cook-off as a way of getting friends together in the depths of winter.  Well, we hosted it again this year and my husband Bert, agreed to do a guest post for my blog.   Here’s the post in his words.

Last week we held our annual curry cook-off, the second annual anyway, so I guess it’s a tradition. As a sequel, Loretta asked me to write something about my background. Organized as a winter counterbalance to our friends Owen and Angela’s (annual) chili cook-off, it brings out the competitive streak in our male friends. They are extremely creative with their curries. Me, I’m no cook and lucky to have Loretta.

We’re both originally from India, but of different ethnic backgrounds. Loretta is Goan. I’m Anglo-Indian.

Anglo-Indians are half-castes. Born of mixed stock, British (Anglo) and colonial (Indian), English was their mother tongue and they were organized and reliable. They ran the infrastructure for their masters – the railways, the post office, the prisons. They were warm, party loving and believed in God.

Cold damp England, the England they never knew, could not have been further from my parents’ minds. India was a wonderful life with warm weather and servants to help perform the chores.

Nothing is forever. In 1947, as nationalism grew around the globe, the seeds of de-colonialization were planted. India was granted independence. The violence was dreadful as Hindu and Moslem slaughtered one another. Which is one reason the British created Pakistan, to separate Hindu from Moslem. To escape the chaos, many Anglo-Indians left for a motherland they never knew, a clammy and foggy island recovering from the War.

Unlike other ethnic groups, Anglo-Indians rarely intermarried. After all, we were born of mixed marriage and continued to mesh with the locals wherever our diaspora eventually led us, for example Canada or Australia.

Today we do not exist. Personally it has made me adaptable. But I’ll always be loyal to my roots – curry.

Back to the present.  Here’s a bird’s eye view of the entries and close-ups of the individual curried dishes.  The dishes were cooked ahead of time and everyone got a chance to vote for their favorite curry.

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image1_2_2One of the desserts was a curried fruit cobbler soaked in champagne and topped with a crumble.

And the winner (seen below)……Bendigo’s cod Goan Seafood Curry.  The recipe recently appeared in the British newspaper, The  Telegraph.  Click on the link for the full recipe.

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…and the prize was a beautiful brass lantern

I’m linking this post to Fiesta Friday # 109 where our co-hosts are  Josette @ thebrookcook and Lily @ little sweet baker

64 comments

    1. Ha! Thanks Sonal, it was a lot of fun to put together. I’m sure the post taught you a thing or two about your motherland (waaaay before you were born) LOL! You should definitely have some theme-inspired dinner parties, I can tell you’re just as sociable as we are and it’s always a blast to put together and enjoy. However, you should probably stay away from curries if you’ve got an-all Indian crowd, cos everyone will win :). We really don’t know many Indian friends around here, so it was fun getting all the Americans and Brits concocting up their own, and would you believe it, none had ever cooked curries before? They came up with quite a few different curries from around the world, I was pretty chuffed to see that. Let me know what you plan, glad I inspired you. xo

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    1. Thanks Cynthia, I’m sure you enjoyed reading Bert’s post and how the family moved away from India under those circumstances. Thank you as always for being so supportive on my blog. I really appreciate your feedback xo

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    1. Thanks Mimi, we started a tradition, a spin-off from the chilli cook-off I guess. As it was so well received last year, we thought of repeating it again this year. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  1. Loretta,
    I love the idea of a curry cook off. It is so nice that you and your husband have these friends who are enthusiast cooks. Our friends are mostly enthusiastic about eating 🙂 Yours looks like t a fun get together and so perfect in the winter too. I love the array of curry recipes you got. How do you vote? The winning curry recipe is very similar to one of my family recipes for fish curry.
    Great pics as usual!

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    1. Theme-based dinner parties or get-togethers can be a lot of fun can’t they? I had to laugh when you said your friends are enthusiastic about eating LOL! Actually, I know it is not traditional to invite someone over and then ask them to bring a dish….it took me a while to get used to that, but I suppose life is so much harder here than when we all had servants eh? Also, a competition always sets the wheels in motion, you should have seen and heard the chatter once the invitations got out 🙂 We have a very simple method of voting, everyone gets to vote once after they’ve tried and tested a few of their favorites. We have a bucket and pencils set aside and they vote in private. We then tally up the votes and announce the winner, who usually gets a brass lantern. Our friends chilli cook-off is a bit more elaborate where they actually appoint judges and have a floating trophy etc. Thanks for stopping Sandhya, always appreciate your comments and feedback. Thought of incorporating some fun posts with a bit of history thrown in,the last couple of times.

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      1. I am all for potluck in this country and a healthy competition sounds fabulous. I like your friendly way of voting . Also your counter top display is simply awesome. Your countertop has such a nice arc, which enhances it further.
        The lantern is such a great prize!

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      2. Too true Sandhya, although whenever a guest visits my home for the first time, I ask them to bring nada… But after that first time, they are welcome to bring a dish…so if you were ever to visit us, don’t bring a thing on the first visit (except your sweet potato chips of course) LOL! That arc is a feature of the camera, actually I think all cameras have that, it’s called “fisheye” and gives you a nice aerial view, although why it’s called fisheye is beyond me 🙂

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      3. Loretta, I will be happy to get the sweet potato chips!
        It is interesting to know about the fisheye. I should check if my camera has it.

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  2. What a great post! I loved the history, and your guest should be a regular! I can’t believe what a variety of curries you had. Was this all planned (what everyone was bringing) or did it just work out that way? I would love to have friends that can get together and do these events together. Our friends, some of them great cooks, are just so busy that we are lucky to get together for an occasional dinner out. Either that or they are subjected to my cooking when invited over. I thought the Goan fish curry had to be one of your family recipes!

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    1. Thank you Julie, can always count on you for some great feedback, truly appreciate that. Yes, Bert is quite a writer, so when I asked him to do a guest post, he happily obliged. I’ll have to bring him on regularly, you’re right :). Actually it was all planned ahead of time, when Bert makes up these postcard invitations, we send them to our friends, and then all the chatter begins….would you believe it, except for me, all the others were male chefs? It’s fun to hear them all discussing ingredients, recipes etc.etc. I send out a couple of reminder emails, and they usually tell me what they will be bringing ahead of time as we need to make sure we’re catering for vegetarians/pescatarians etc. I know everyone leads such busy lives, but heck if they have time to come to Julie’s fabulous kitchen (if you’re cooking), then surely they’ll be able to whip up something for the competition? Maybe try a barbeque contest with summer around the corner, everyone loves a contest!

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    2. oh and p.s. Julie, the Goan fish curry was not a family recipe, although I do make something similar. The winner is British, so I think he found that recipe on one of the English newspapers. He used cod.

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    1. Thanks Josette, we’ll be repeating that next year too I’m sure. Maybe you can start your own tradition with your friends? I had to laugh out loud when I read Mr. & Mrs. Safari of the Mind 🙂 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Viva Goa indeed Freda. Obgrida. Yes, indeed the Goan curry won. Our friend who made it is English, so he got that pretty good recipe from one of the papers in England. He even borrowed some coriander seeds from me and crushed them and also asked me for tamarind 🙂 Pretty authentic, although not sure about the Kashmiri chillies, I’ll have to look for them the next time I’m at the Indian store.

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    1. Thanks Elaine 🙂 Just watching The Jewel in the Crown again, and loving it all over. It’s about the time when the British ruled India and just before Independence. I’m glad Bert was able to bring a bit of history to the post 🙂 I’m sure our Indian bloggers were even able to read a bit about that part of the history in India that they were not around for.

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    1. Thanks Linda. My husband did enjoy writing about a bit of history that many are not familiar with. I too was surprised at the variety of curries presented, and it’s great that they represented so many different countries. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. A vey nice post Loretta!! Your husband did a fantastic job on your blog. congrats to both of you. Love the idea of your cook off. So very interesting. I used to see Anglo Indians as a kid and they were so much a part of hindi movies in 80’s. But sadly we don’t see them anywhere. Maybe in Bombay or maybe not. Delicious display of curries. Is that picture yours. It’s beautiful. Good luck to both of you and stay blessed!

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    1. Thanks a lot Ana, a history lesson for sure. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of curries from around the world. Which picture are you referring to? If it is the winning couple, then NO! I wish I were that young :). They were the winners of the curry cook-off. 🙂

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  4. Love the curry cook off annual event and enjoyed reading about it from Bert’s perspective. Outstanding selection of very diverse curries. It was fascinating to learn more of the history of Anglo Indians as well. Happy Canada was welcoming to Bert’s family!

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    1. Thanks Johanne, I’ll have to give Bert everyone’s positive feedback on the post and perhaps invite him again for another post. I was so surprised to see so many varied curries from different parts of the world. Just lovely! I’m glad you were able to learn a bit more about the history of the Anglo-Indians. Yes indeed, when Bert’s family moved out of India in 1947 when it became independent, they went to England. Life was tough way back then, there weren’t many immigrants around, and weren’t really accepted. When they moved to Canada many years later, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven. My ma in law re-married after her husband died and moved to Australia for 18 years, then when her second husband died, it was her wish to move back to her Beloved Canada as she wanted to die there. Sadly, she did pass away exactly a year ago yesterday at the ripe old age of 94, and I know she was happy to have spent almost 8 years again in Canada (after Australia) before she left us.

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  5. Welcome to the blogging world, Bert! Such a delightful and informative post… I love learning about the history of different cultures and your “lesson” did not disappoint! The curry cook off sounds like such fun and such varied entries too!

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    1. Thanks for that warm welcome to Bert, Nancy. I’ll have to give him all the positive feedback I’ve been reading from so many great bloggers. I too love reading about the history of other cultures. There’s just so much to educate ourselves out there, and I’m always happy to read so much via the blogging world too. Thanks for the encouragement, always love your visits 🙂 xo

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    1. Thanks Fae, I’m sure if you arranged a similar event, it would be a real hit. Would love to hear some of the history and background of your roots too. You’re right though, you’d have to invite friends who had a passion for cooking. 🙂

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  6. Just wonderful, Loretta! Such a fascinating guest blogger, too! 🙂 I really enjoyed reading about your husband’s family history. All of the curries look so yummy. This fun tradition is sure to continue for many years! ♡

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    1. Thank you Dawn. Such fun traditions can only be something to look forward to year after year yes. Lately, I’ve been trying to add something different to each post other than just a recipe and pictures. I’ve noticed people love history and the origins of a dish. Now that spring is around the corner, I’ll have to add more to my gardening section. Thanks so much for stopping by Dawn, enjoy your weekend 🙂

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  7. Loving it! Absolutely loving it – the history lesson and the incredibly competitive food. What a wonderful post! I am very lucky living in an Asian-rich part of London so I never ever make Indian food and the complicated routes of the Indian diaspora means that most of the delivery men speak German, having spent parts of their childhood or youth there, and are always happy to practise it with us which makes the whole take-away food experience even more rewarding. But if you’re calling for a curry cook off I am all game!
    Happy FF!

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    1. You are absolutely right Ginger….did you know that the best Indian restaurants are in London? There’s an area called Southall where you can get the best Indian nosh, even better than India 🙂 Take-away or delivered meals sound wonderful. Whereabouts are you in London? I used to live in E. Finchley. Happy FF to you.

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    1. Thanks Nandini. Ha ha yes, I remember the Anglo Indians referred to as “mistish”, or any Indian/European marriages. My husband was born in India, but left in 1947 at the age of 4 yrs old. He grew up in England/Canada, and is more English/Canadian than Anglo Indian. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend.

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  8. What a great tradition! And to make it a bit of a challenge is even more fun for all your friends…All the different types of curry looked delicious! Congrats to your hubby for a job well done 🙂 🙂

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    1. Yes I do remember you taking that Indian cooking class, was it not you, or am I mistaking you for someone else? We had another Indian nite with my American friends in Philadelphia last night. A few of us got together and cooked a few dishes. It’s just wonderful sharing a kitchen, music, wine and good friendship. It was a blast! Fortunately for us, all our friends love Indian cuisine. Thanks for stopping by Judi.

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  9. Oh my Loretta, my mouth was watering as I was looking at all the photos of the different curries. What a fun feast. Thanks for sharing and I think its really cute that your husband is involved in your blog, how nice:)

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    1. Thanks Lily, and thanks too for co-hosting. Yes, it really helps when my husband encourages me to keep going – I thought a few more blog posts from him would be great in the near future. It spices things up a bit 🙂

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  10. Do you know that I’m considered the curry expert in my group of friends? Uh huh, no kidding! That tells you how inexperienced we all are, lol. Hosting a curry cook off is a fantastic idea! And I love reading about your husband’s family background.

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    1. Wonderful Angie, with all the Indian community that you know on Fiesta Friday, it’s no wonder you’re the expert now. I too have learned a lot in the process. Any kind of curry cook off is fun actually. I was in Philly this weekend with a bunch of American girlfriends, they all love curry, so we did a curry night and all cooked together, drank wine and had such a blast! How come I have to approve your comments? I thought that only happened when someone posted as a guest? Wierd, unless I don’t show up on your feed? Anyway, I’m working on a post right now that you’ll not want to miss, I won’t say any more 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, always appreciate a visit from our Master Chef and Hostess 🙂

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