Monday, October 05, 2009

A Royal Breakfast in Nepal

In December 1911, King George V of England visited Nepal, and during the visit a shooting expedition was organised by the Maharajah and his three sons in their “tiger-infested jungles.” An artist was given special permission to accompany the royal party on the ten-day visit, and he sent a lengthy report on the events along with the expected drawings. The report found its way into the New York Times, and I give you some of the details.

Two “camps” were used, but these were not rough bush tent-sites with pit latrines and all of the other enticing features of the archetypal outdoor life. There were bungalows with “modern fittings” including electric lights, and there were also automobiles to supplement the elephant transport. The King himself shot “remarkably well”, rarely requiring a second barrel to complete his personal total kill of 37 tigers. A great deal of other wildlife was also consigned to trophyism, including 19 rhinos.

Our focus is of course, on the food in the story. The artist enclosed “the ordinary breakfast menu” of the camp – which I note does not include tiger or rhino meat in any form.

Bekti [a freshwater fish]Maitre d’Hotel.
Oeufs aux choux saucisses.
Curry de legumes viandes.

The Curry de Legumes Viandes is presumably meant to be Curry de Legumes et de Viandes (curry of vegetables and meat), and represents an Anglo-Indian “fusion” dish. From The Englishwoman in India, by “a lady resident”, published in 1864, I give you the following receipt for a nice pickle to accompany your curry.

Dried Mango Pickle.
Salt, brown sugar, onions, garlic, green chillies, gren ginger, raisins, and mango slices (sliced and dried in the sun), take half a pound of each; cut the ginger and onions in slices, put all the ingredients into a jar, fill with vinegar, and stand in the sun every day for a month.

Quotation for the Day.
We had kangaroo curry for breakfast next morning; and having fed our horses, and sounded to saddle, set out again in pursuit of game.
Edward Wilson Landor, The Bushman.

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