Now we have heard how Mrs. Sedley had prepared a fine curry for her son, just as he liked it, and in the course of dinner a portion of this dish was offered to Rebecca. “What is it?” said she, turning an appealing look to Mr. Joseph.
“Capital,” said he. His mouth was full of it; his face quite red with the delightful exercise of gobbling. “Mother, it’s as good as my own curries in India.”
“Oh, I must try some, if it is an Indian dish,” said Miss Rebecca. “I am sure everything must be good that comes from there.”
“Give Miss Sharp some curry, my dear,” said Mr. Sedley, laughing.
Rebecca had never tasted the dish before.
“Do you find it as good as everything else from India?” said Mr. Sedley.
“Oh, excellent!” said Rebecca, who was suffering tortures with the cayenne pepper.
“Try a chili with it, Miss Sharp,” said Joseph, really interested.
“A chili,” said Rebecca, gasping. “Oh, yes!” She thought a chili was something cool, as its name imported, and was served with some. “How fresh and green they look,” she said, and put one into her mouth. It was hotter than the curry; flesh and blood could bear it no longer. She laid down her fork. “Water, for Heaven’s sake, water!” she cried. Mr. Sedley burst out laughing (he was a coarse man, from the Stock Exchange, where they love all sorts of practical jokes). “They are real Indian, I assure you,” said he. “Sambo, give Miss Sharp some water.”
The paternal laugh was echoed by Joseph, who thought the joke capital. The ladies only smiled a little. They thought poor Rebecca suffered too much. She would have liked to choke old Sedley, but she swallowed her mortification as well as she had the abominable curry before it, and as soon as she could speak, said, with a comical, good-humoured air—
“I ought to have remembered the pepper which the Princess of Persia puts in the cream-tarts in the Arabian Nights. Do you put cayenne into your cream-tarts in India, sir?”
” Vanity Fair – William Makepiece Thackeray
We’re having a heat-wave in South Africa and the weather forecasters are madly issuing warnings for people to stay adequately hydrated and stay out of the sun. ‘There’s a saying that ‘when even salamanders are fainting from the heat, there’s nothing like a good, hot Madras curry’, (sourced from BBC.co.uk) and that is just what I did yesterday as the temperatures reached over thirty degrees in Johannesburg.
Much hotter than Ms Sharp could ever have handled, it made for surprising relief from the heat.
I used Gordon Ramsay’s recipe. (But added mushrooms, peas and potatoes.)