Rohan Candappa has written a book that is both a family history and a history of curry in Britain. As well as this he includes recipes for meals that have significance because of some of the events he relates in the book. He is an entertaining writer who apparently wrote books of humour after a career in advertising. This book, though, has serious things to say about being of Sri Lankan heritage and growing up in South London.
His book covers issues of identity and being a son of immigrants but it also raises the importance of food for uniting people. Families get together over meals and recipes get passed through generations. In such ways are we connected to those we love and to our roots. He is funniest when relating the British ‘involvement’ in the world of curries, from the awful curry he had at school as a child to the supermarket prepared version of his adult life.
Candappa’s family shows the strength from diversity. His father is Sri Lankan, his mother is part of the Indian- Portuguese diaspora born in Burma. He, himself, is British of course and making sense of his own history is part of the narrative of this book. Food, family, identity are all important elements explored here and are all explored with a light good humour.
‘Picklehead’ by Rohan Candappa is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?