Madhur (meaning sweet as honey) Jaffrey grew up in a large family compound by the Yamuna River in Delhi, where her grandfather often presided over dinners with 40 or more members of his extended family savoring together the wonderfully flavorful dishes that were forever imprinted on Madhur's palate. Whether climbing the mango trees in her grandparents' orchard, armed with a mixture of salt, pepper, ground red chilies, and roasted cumin, or picnicking in the Himalayan foothills on meatballs stuffed with raisins and mint, tucked into freshly baked spiced pooris, the tastes and textures of those childhood pleasures bring back memories of growing up.
Independent-minded, sensitive, and ever curious, Madhur as a child explored the history of her family and was deeply affected by their personal trials. Despite obstacles that her schooling imposed and an insecure adolescence, she emerged well educated and gifted in the arts, ready to explore new territory as the world she had known crumbled around her. Climbing the Mango Trees is both an enormously appealing account of an unusual childhood and a testament to the power of food in our lives to evoke memory. Although by the time it ends, when Madhur leaves India, she had never cooked a meal, it was that longing to taste again the flavors of her childhood that drove her into the kitchen - to become eventually the internationally acclaimed food writer that she is today.
©2005, 2006 Madhur Jaffrey (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Jaffrey's graceful prose and sure powers of description paint a vivid landscape of an almost enchanted childhood. Her family and friends, the bittersweet sorrows of puberty, the sensual sounds and smells of the monsoon rain, all are remembered with love and care, but nowhere is her writing more evocative than when she details the food of her childhood, which she does often and at length." (Publishers Weekly)
The poor sound of the recording. Way too low and muffled sounding.
the story itself
Only if it was recorded better.
I've never been moved to write about a poor recording before!
I just got this book after waiting for a few months and was quite thrilled to see familiar names and places mentioned. Being a distant family member, I am probably prejudiced but I think this book is a fascinating read, especially for someone brought up in Delhi. The book even has a family tree in the beginning, going back to the 1500s.
After this book, I'd think long and hard about reading another book by Madhur Jaffery. I will definitely avoid books read by Sumeet Bharati.
The narrator routinely mispronounces both Indian and English words. Hearing her pronounce "agape" with three syllables was particularly jarring. She uses the same approximation of an Indian accent for all the spoken characters. Her delivery is robotic and inexpressive.
I think this book was written with a sequel in mind. It only covers her childhood. The problem is that there just isn't enough worthy material in this book. She should have written a memoir covering her whole life (to date) rather than trying to stretch it out over several books.
What a childhood! So different than mine. The beauty of it is captured so well. A total pleasure for the senses. If you want to know what it was like growing up in a middle class family in India 1930's until after all Partition changes - do read this!
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