Food Culture in Colonial Asia: A Taste of Empire

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-06-09
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This book is a social history of colonial food practices in India, Malaysia and Singapore and of the contribution that Asian domestic servants made towards the development of this cuisine between 1858 and 1963. The author employs the media of domestic cookbooks, household management manuals, memoirs, diaries and travelogues to investigate the culinary practices in the colonial household, clubs, hill stations, hotels and restaurants.Challenging accepted ideas about colonial cuisine, Cecilia Leong Salobir argues that a distinctive cuisine emerged as a result of negotiation and collaboration between the expatriate British and local people. The cuisine evolved over time and was not subject to a deliberate act of imposing imperialistic designs but involved a process of consuming local and European foods through the efforts of indigenous servants. The memsahib's supervisory role in the household, the servants' local knowledge, the lack of European foods and the availability of local ingredients contributed towards the colonial cuisine.This book builds on the scant scholarship of the colonial cuisine and highlights both the role and representation of domestic servants in the colonies. As such, it is an important read for students and scholars of food history, Asian history, colonial history, cultural and social histories as well as Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. x
Introductionp. 1
What empire builders atep. 12
The colonial appropriation of curryp. 39
Servants of empire: the role and representation of domestic servants in the colonial householdp. 60
Leisure and segregation: clubs, hill stations and rest-housesp. 87
Dirt and diseasep. 114
Conclusionp. 134
Glossaryp. 139
Notesp. 142
Bibliographyp. 173
Indexp. 186
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