The East India Company pioneers in India loved nothing more than enjoying a local curry with chutney. These ‘ordinary’ foods in India became exotic back in London.
The first recipe for curry appeared in a cookery book of 1747. The dish reflected the tastes of the staff of The East India Company – England’s most powerful trading company dealing in Asian goods.
A newspaper article of 1784 discusses in wonderful rich language the newly available ingredient ‘curry powder’, describing it as ‘exceeding pleasant and healthful’ and available only to buy on Piccadilly. Times have changed a little, but the warmth for curry has only grown with the British.
Transcript from the British Library:
"To persons of Rank, Traders to all Nations, and Servants.
The invaluable rich Ingredient, called CURRY POWDER, brought from the East-Indies by the famous SOLANDER, is ROW [sic] to be only had, in its original virtues, at Sorlie’s Perfumery Warehouse, No.23, Piccadilly, near Air-street. The celebrated East-India Dishes, and most sumptuous Sauces, are made with this Powder. It is exceeding pleasant and healthful – renders the stomach active in digestion – the blood naturally free in circulation – the mind vigorous, and contributes most of any food to an increase of the human race…"