Sunday, 21 February 2010

Idi Amin & Princess Anne

Another another book I got for Christmas was The Settlers Cookbook, by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Before reading it, I wrote: This was not on my list, but Bill thought I might find it interesting. The first couple of pages are promising, discussing all the useless bits of kitchen cookware she and her mother brought with them, specific to making Indian food, brought from Uganda to Britain. I used to work with a man who traveled a similar route, a consultant doctor who told me that at one time he’d been one of Idi Amin’s personal physicians. I was a bit embarrassed by my ignorance and thought him very patient in providing a few sentences outlining the traumatic historical background of his life. I remember thinking at the time that his difficult past must have contributed toward making him the quiet, kind, rather indecisive person I knew. Flipping through the book there are many Indian recipes that look much simpler than the ones in the cookbook I bought at the flea market one time. I shall look forward to this.

Afterwards: It’s one thing to read about the horrors of medieval life or about the Holocaust, not having been alive then. It’s another altogether to read about events that happened when I was graduating high school and preparing to go to university at 16. I think I’ve been asleep for most of my life, wrapped up in my own small concerns, not knowing what was happening to people elsewhere in the world. I heard the name Idi Amin, of course, and something about Entebbe. I suppose that much of what actually went on in the early 70s in Uganda was not in the public domain, but I wouldn’t have known it even if it had been on the front pages:

“Western Governments Support Murdering, Torturing Psychopath to Protect Business Interests (& save world from Communism)”
I might have paid more attention had it said:

“Idi Amin to Marry Princess Anne”

Well, he did apparently offer...

Not only did this book roll out the fascinating history of a very exotic part of the world, as well as shedding some light on the earlier social situation here in Britain, it reminded me what an incredibly soft and easy life I’ve led. It’s a compelling read, this book, whether you like Indian food or not; go put this on your Amazon wishlist, now!


Frugal Scholar said...

I was a teen in the late 60s and I can hardly believe that the assassination of ML King and the Civil Rights protests didn't make more of a dent. Neither did the moon landing. Teenagers are just narcissistic.

Shelley said...

FS - I feel a bit better now. I remember being really blase about the moon landing and all the space exploration. It used to infuriate my Dad that I wasn't more interested than I was. I do remember the JFK assassination, but none of the rest made much of a dent in my hard head. Narcissistic is the word. Thanks.