Yeh Hai Life!

Featuring The ‘Poor Benighted Hindu’, Crooked Cooks, And Curries: The Khaki Kook Book circa 1917

In Food/Drink, India on January 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Hattip Outlook India where we saw this mentioned as a ‘gem of a find’ – The Khaki Kook Book by Mary Kennedy Core from Hindustani recipes by Lilavate Singh.

We found the preface more interesting than the recipes frankly. An interesting window into the perceptions of American women missionaries in India in 1917 – high praise for Indian food v/s American, and completely condescending of the Indian cooks that cook it (as in this excerpt below).

Imagine the hard missionary life they had to lead…..having to manage the cooks.

However, do not suppose for a minute that the missionary lady has no responsibility regarding the cooking. She has. She cooks with her nerves and brains. She has to train up the cook in the way he should go, and after he has gotten into the way, she has to walk along by his side, for she must be brains for him for ever and ever. She has to see that he walks in paths of truth and uprightness…. She dare not even visit her own cook-house without coughing and making a noise, for fear that she will have a case of discipline on hands that may leave her without a cook.


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