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Curry, Columbus, and culinary appropriation

November 15, 2021

Nishant Batsha explains that curry started as an abbreviated western take on the many cuisines from India:

So what was curry like before Columbus? Well, curry didn’t exist. In these cases, I find it useful to consult my Hobson-Jobson, the nineteenth-century dictionary of Anglo-Indian loan words. According to that source, curry comes from the Portuguese word karil (caril) via the Tamil word kari (sauce, relish for rice). In the sixteenth century, this was transliterated into English as caril, but by the 1680s entered English as carrees, perhaps from caris, an Anglicized plural form of the Portuguese.

That article is more than a year old. But I just stumbled across it. And enjoyed it, because it mentions dal, which I like even more than curry, and talks about asafetida (hīng), which we use in our curries and dal and most any time we use turmeric.

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