Since we complained in our last post about Victorian Britons’ whiter-shade-of-pale approach to plating, it’s only fitting that we prove our selves wrong by turning now to this vibrant, colorful chicken curry. If you look at it too long, you might burn your eyes!
Curry Powder 6 oz of Turmeric, 4 oz coriander seeds, 2 oz cumin seeds, 1/2 oz white pepper, 1/4 oz cayenne pepper, 1/2 oz caraway seeds, 1/4 oz ginger powder, 2 oz fenugreek powder
Mrs Barwell’s recipt for curry cut a fowl in pieces & 8 middling sized onions in slices fry them in 2 oz of butter very slowly till soft stirring all the time When done drain the butter from the onion & put them with the pieces of fowl into a sauce pan add one teaspoonful of curry powder one [illegible] of salt 1/2 pint of butter milk or milk curdled with lemon juice then stew these very slowly until all liquid is absorbed when add 1 pint of good gracy steaks stew again until well mixed
You certainly won’t get overheated eating Mrs. Barwell’s curry. Her recipe calls for a nearly infinitesimal quantity of cayenne to be diluted in a pint of buttermilk and smothered in turmeric. Shockingly, this experiment in homeopathic cookery gives off little heat. Instead, caraway, coriander, cumin, and eight onions flavor the curry like an everything bagel—or, what you might imagine to be the taste of a giant chicken-in-a-biscuit cracker soaked in warm cream. We mean that in the best possible way.
Perhaps it would have come out differently if we had been able to find some fenugreek, but after a through search of area shops [Ed. Note--We went to the corner store and they were out] (and good deal of suspicion about whether such a thing even exists), we had to do without. The curry’s flavor might also have been changed if we had added whatever a pint of “grasy steak stew” is, but, even in the interest of furthering culinary knowledge (or as the Germans say kitchenwissenschaft), we had to pass on two cups of meat grease.
Even without heat, fenugreek, and grasy steak stew, and even though its claim to being a curry is somewhat dubious, this dish could easily satisfy dinner guests as ‘Creamy Caraway Chicken.’
Special thanks to our guest chef Sally Olson, whose Dutch ancestors would be proud to know she is keeping up their national tradition of bland, stew-like meals.
 To be fair to Mrs. Barwell and Turnbull, these jaundiced curry proportions were recommended to British cooks. An 19th century version of Meg Dod’s Cookery Book recommends the same recipe—with the exception of caraway.