Currys, we love them over here on our rainy little island. According to Gallup, one in four of us eat curry at least once a week. They’ve been part of us for quite a bit longer than most people realise. Thanks to our imperialist, thieving attitude we have been able to scan the corners of the globe for the best foods then steal their ideas and bring them home leaving the inhabitants both Christian and diseased. The first appearance of a curry recipe in an English cook book dates back to 1747 would you believe? Written by Hannah Glasse, the book ,”The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”, also includes chapters called “Another way to raggoo a breast of Veal” and “Chickens with tongues”. Yummsters.
The very first Indian curry house in England – The Hindoostanee Coffee House in London – was started in 1810, it closed one year later due to lack of custom, our stiff upper palettes were probably not quite ready for what he was offering. To put that in perspective though, the first fish and chip shop didn’t open until the 1860′s. So curry is really as ingrained in us as the nation’s biggest staple. The Hindoostanee was set up by a British Bengali entrepreneur, Sake Dean Mahomed who was also the first Indian to write a book in English and became the “Shampooing Surgeon” to George IV and William IV, so he must have been doing something right even if the restaurant failed prematurely.