There is real joy in seeing a biter bit.

And so it is with Robert Eric Frykenberg, who recently reviewed "Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors" by Lizzie Collingham for Christianity Today. Frykenburg is professor emeritus of history and South Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He devotes a good quarter of his review to his very close relationship with a high Brahman and his eating habits, confident that “such complexities, while not always fully explained in Lizzie Collingham’s story of curry as a cuisine and its conquests, lie just beneath the surface”. And while he generally likes the book, he also “might quibble over a few lapses within this history — such as the author’s confusing Arthur Wellesley (the sepoy general who became Duke of Wellington) with his elder brother Richard, as the Governor-General”. Nevertheless, he magnanimously concedes that “these tiny errors in no way diminish the value of this truly delightful book”.

An intellect and an historian to be reckoned with, then. So, what do you make of this:

The indigenous spices of India, including their own black pepper and chili peppers, had been nothing like as hot as this new red pepper (or cayenne).

Pure, unadulterated tosh. There have never been any indigenous chili peppers in India. Capsicum is a New World genus. End of story. This gross howler considerably diminishes the value of this truly delightful review.

Two ways to respond: webmentions and comments


Webmentions allow conversations across the web, based on a web standard. They are a powerful building block for the decentralized social web.

“Ordinary” comments

These are not webmentions, but ordinary old-fashioned comments left by using the form below.

Reactions from around the web