Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Climbing the Mango Trees A Memoir of a Childhood in India I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi When I was a few minutes old Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing Om which means I am in Sanskrit on my tongue with a litt

  • Title: Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India
  • Author: Madhur Jaffrey
  • ISBN: 9780091908935
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi When I was a few minutes old, Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing Om , which means I am in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a little finger dipped in honey When the family priest arrived to draw up my horoscope, he scribbled astrological symbols on a long scroll and set down a name for me, Indrani, I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi When I was a few minutes old, Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing Om , which means I am in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a little finger dipped in honey When the family priest arrived to draw up my horoscope, he scribbled astrological symbols on a long scroll and set down a name for me, Indrani, or queen of the heavens My father ignored him completely and proclaimed my name was to be Madhur sweet as honey So begins Madhur Jaffrey s enchanting memoir of her childhood in India Her description of growing up a in a very large, wealthy family half a train was booked to transport the family from Delhi to the mountains for the summer conjures up the spirit of a long lost age Whether climbing the mango trees in her grandparents orchard, armed with a mixture of salt, pepper, red chillies and roasted cumin, or enjoying picnics in the foothills of the Himalayas, reached by foot, rickshaw, palanquin or horse, where meatballs stuffed with sultanas and mint leaves, cauliflowers flavoured with ginger and coriander, and spiced pooris with hot green mango pickle were devoured, food forms a major leitmotiv of this beautifully written memoir With recipes drawn from memories of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, weddings and picnics, moving effortlessly from the lamb meatballs of Moghul emperors to the tamarind chutneys of the streets, this book will appeal to keen armchair cooks, as well as fans of Madhur the world over.

    One thought on “Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India”

    1. I picked this book up thinking any book that my daughter recommends, contains food, is a memoir (one of my favorite genres) and takes the reader to a foreign land, has to be worth a read. Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India did not disappoint.Right off the top, I want to say that I don't foresee every reader liking this book because it is not a swashbuckling venture through India. This book is a slow-cooker and it never comes to boil. What it is is a delightful feast that [...]

    2. For fans of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks, this memoir will be, well, weird. I have been a fan for years, ever since I picked up one of her cookbooks while living in London. She has come to feel very much of a household presence for me, and I have felt intimately acquainted with her for years through cooking and eating her family's recipes. (Which are all DELICIOUS, by the way.) I had seen some excellent reviews of this memoir on amazon, and confidently suggested it to my book club when I saw it o [...]

    3. لمن لا يعرف مادهور جافري فهي واحدة من أهم النساء الهنديات اللاتي كتبن موسوعات في كتب الطبخ الهندي ولاقت شهرة واسعة في الولايات المتحدة كما ساعدها في ذلك زوجها الأمريكي عازف الكمان تقول إحدى قارئات هذا الكتاب إنها خذلت تماما كونها ليست مهتمة بعائلة مادهور وإحداهن تقول إنها ا [...]

    4. I devoured this book. This was a nostalgic journey through the privileged India of the early twentieth century. I got so engrossed, it was as if I had metamorphosed into the young girl who ran around orchids and kitchens and large rooms, ever inquisitive and all-absorbing. This book has rich descriptions of the food, heritage, lifestyle and architecture of the older India. One amusing thing is that, so far I was under the impression that Madhur Jaffrey is a famous Indian male chef and I was shoc [...]

    5. A warm and comforting read . I was reminded of my own ancestral home and the variety of dishes I had in my childhood. Loved the chapter construction (small chapters) and the titles of the chapters

    6. I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the food and spices were so visceral. However, I was left wanting much much more from this so very capable author. Jaffrey can definitely write and write well, though there were moments of frustration when she would gloss over events that she had been hinting at for the last 100 pages. The prime example is her uncle Shibudada (if I remember the name correctly) and the rift that eventually happened between the uncle and his family and Jaffrey's fami [...]

    7. هنا أنت تفتح حواسك لتتذوق وتشم وترى وتحس وتسمع ، أنت لا تقرأ تاريخ عائلة ولكنك تقرأ تاريخ أمة !

    8. “My grandfather had built his house in what was once a thriving orchard of jujubes, mulberries, tamarinds, and mangoes. His numerous grandchildren, like hungry flocks of birds, attacked the mangoes while they were still green and sour. As grown-ups snored through the hot afternoons in rooms cooled with weeded, sweet-smelling vetiver curtains, the unsupervised children were on every branch of every mango tree, armed with a ground mixture of salt, pepper, red chilies, and roasted cumin.”Is you [...]

    9. بعد أربعمائة صفحة تحت ظلال الهند بين دلهي وكانبور حيث تقطن مع ‏عائلة هندية لترى أسرارها ، تقاليدها ، طريقة العيش والأعياد والزيجات وكل تلك الطقوس والرحلات نحو جبال الهملايا ومراحل الحياة لمادور من الطفولة للمراهقة وسن الشباب ، الى ان أصبحت طباخة وأم مبهرة ، الكثير من الدهش [...]

    10. An enjoyable read with some mouth-watering family recipes (or near equivalents) at the back. I only knew Jaffrey from her cooking programmes of the 1980s on the BBC--and her publishers' penchant for re-issuing the same collection of recipes over and over at ten-year intervals, under different titles and with slight differences in illustrations and front matter. The child of privileged parents of the administrative caste in Delhi, Jaffrey takes us into their world of family compounds, shared meal [...]

    11. A food-centric memoir of growing up in a huge Indian family in and around Delhi. Jaffrey became a teenager when India got its independence - a time of joy and horror, as the country gained its freedom and then tore itself apart in the violence that came with Partition.But Jaffrey's childhood was more happy than not, despite the presence of a low-key but appalling family rift caused by an uncle's emotional abuse of his own children and favoritism of some of his nieces and nephews. There's not a l [...]

    12. I regretted buying this book. The title, cover, and synopsis were all massively deceiving. The story is incoherent and the recipes are so sparse and simple that I felt cheated even though I bought it on sale. The writer could not stop droning on about how proud she was of the particular 'caste' she belongs to. A system that no-one should ever be allowed to talk about with such disturbing relish. At one point she managed a disparaging remark about Hijabis and that was pretty much all we saw about [...]

    13. I like books about food. I like books about India. and I like a good "growing up in ___" story. But this book didn't really any of these things well. There are many ellipses and allusions when it comes to the real drama. They are taken up but then brushed aside with a description of tomato ginger potatoes.I loved the food description, and even how the culinary tradition of Delhi changed after partition (from dominantly muslim cuisine of the old city to creamy Punjabi). But partition, which she n [...]

    14. What on earth so many favorable reviews. I had to give it one star because there wasn't a BARF option. I'm quite mature and eloquent, I know - no need to respond.This book as concept sounds great - portrait of an extended family living on one compound under a patriarch, during partition and told from the p.o.v. of a foodie (as I understand it, Jaffrey is the Martha Stewart of Indian cookbooks). So far, I'm totally on board.And then I have to read the words as Jaffrey has assembled them and good [...]

    15. Madhur Jaffrey's clear, delicious, and reliable recipes are much loved at our house. The memoir also reflects her talent for clear and evocative writing. Jaffrey vividly conveys pleasures of taste and color. The memoir was frustratingly choppy though. Even the frequently evoked themes of learning and taste didn't quite manage to hold to together fascinating but disparate themes. The chapters usually fell into short chunks that often skimmed across topics that deserved more thorough development. [...]

    16. I liked the idea of this book, a memoir of a childhood in India, but the execution left things to be desired. Ms. Jaffrey grew up in a very wealthy family during the British rule of India and experienced the changeover to Indian self-rule. But many important things were glossed over and instead the focus was an artistic version of her wonderful childhood. It was interesting, but not important. The thing that does stand out in the book is the authors descriptions of food. I really don't have much [...]

    17. An entertaining glimpse into Brahmin Indian life with, as expected, a dominant interplay of food. What a period to have grown up in India - the time of Partition - and what a lifestyle - picnics of 50 caravanning with servants to the hill country; extensive, planned gardens with flowers, fruits and vegetables galore; private performances of music, dance and theater And as expected, the traditional, multi-generation, extended-family living virtually together with the resulting joys and complexiti [...]

    18. ForMadhur Jaffrey cooking fans, this is an interesting read, the story of her early life in India. The descriptions of food are especially good, of course, as well as the look at daily life in a well-to-do family. There are some tempting family recipes included.Small sections of the book are quite chatty and read nicely, but the book doesn't hang together. It feels like scraps of writing hastily thrown together. An editor to help with the structure and a proofreader to help with typos and gramma [...]

    19. After coming to the near-end of chapter seven and still not finding the story compelling, I have decided to stop climbing the mango trees. I rarely stop reading a book with the intention of never picking it up again but I don't think I will continue this one. If you have read it and think I should keep going, let me know!It was interesting to read about the lives of wealthy Indians, as so many stories focus on the tragic poor of that nation. The family was sweet and the food references were fun. [...]

    20. We all know Madhur Jaffrey can write a mean cookbook and we all know she can act. But did you know she can write beautiful prose too? This memoir of her childhood is richly evocative, sprinkled with memories of family and food and everything in between. And food, oh the food. Do NOT read this book hungry, it will cause you to arrive at your destination and demand to be fed immediately (not that I did that or anything.)

    21. Madhur Jaffrey wrote a thoroughly enjoyable memoir of a privileged childhood in 1930's and 40's India. Along with that she provided a brief but concise history of the partition of India that I was only vaguely familiar with and appreciated for her insight. As an added bonus, Ms Jaffrey has included many recipes for dishes she not only grew up eating, but that symbolize authentic Indian cuisine.

    22. Written by a food writer, Climbing the Mango Trees paints a vivid picture of growing up in India. I could almost smell the food cooking. Unlike many other memoirs, there doesn’t seem to be an overall theme. Rather, the book just covers the author’s memories. However, the vivid writing brought back my own memories of India and gave a wonderful look at everyday life.

    23. This is an interesting description of a wealthy upbringing in India and of the experience of partition for a child. There are many references to food and recipes at the end. I missed any mention of India's poor.

    24. after 30 pages already in love with this memoir. the author is a well known food and cookbook writer. she shares a unique childhood of life in Delhi and the memories that food can evoke. stunning, beautifully written, and i must go out now for some indian food

    25. A perfect gem of a book; a small, glittering evocation of India by way of the memories of food, flavor and fragrance. Gorgeous!

    26. A pleasant read. Different than many books about India because it is not Punjabi and not about the poor. It is about a girl growing up in a large extended family of the intellectual caste.

    27. This was one of those books that really pulled you into the setting, which was India before (and after) partition. Not a place I knew anything about, but I could really see it after reading this book. There's lots of food in this book, but almost no cooking (there are some recipes at the end). That bit was kind of surprising to me. Also the book just sort of ended, with almost a Larry McMurtry or Snow Crash suddenness. But overall very interesting and readable. A great experience of elsewhen, an [...]

    28. Interesting, sometimes funny, often mouth-watering, Madhur Jaffrey's memories in this book encompass her childhood and youth in Delhi with her very large family. Not only did I learn about making some of the dishes she remembers (recipes are included), but there is also the interwoven history of Delhi's multicultural makeup before and after India's independence. Turns out most of what I think of as "Indian food" is specifically Punjabi cuisine that became popular in Delhi after an influx of refu [...]

    29. I've always been a fan of her cooking and her recipes. This was an enjoyable read. She writes with a distinctive style and has a familiar confidence I find endearing. She'll always be one of my favourite old dames who helped bring the glory of Indian cuisine to the world. I'm looking forward to trying out her recipes especially Shammi kebabs and saag gohst

    30. This book was an incredibly endearing memoir of Madhur's childhood in India that manages to be both exotic and familiar at the same time. However, I wanted the book to be something more. Madhur is an incredible writer. Her prose flows effortlessly and engages all of your senses. When the memoir ends abruptly at the end of what she considers her childhood era, I wished I could continue with her on her journey. Her description of the loving prepared food of her youth had my mouth watering and also [...]

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