by Elana Benjamin
|Page Extent:||240 pages|
|Book Size:||233 x 155 mm (Height x Width x Depth)|
My Mother's Spice Cupboard is the true story of the author's Sephardi Jewish family's migration from Baghdad to Bombay (now Mumbai) to Sydney. Unlike most other Australian Jews, her parents were born and grew up in Bombay, and her grandparents were from Iraq, Bur-ma and India. Her father's family immigrated to Sydney; her mother's to Los Angeles; both in the 1960s. They married in Sydney and raised their family there, alongside the father's many brothers and sisters and members of their former Bombay community. De-spite being Jewish, the author's upbringing was greatly influenced by the food, language and culture of India, and to a lesser extent, Iraq. My Mother's Spice Cupboard is the story of what happened to a com-munity which no longer exists, how its members built new lives in a different country, and what it was like to grow up as one of their children. It's also about how much things have changed over four generations in one family. The author's grandparents' arranged mar-riage produced nine children; both her parents grew up within the confines of Bombay's insular Baghdadi Jewish community; and she grew up as a first generation Australian in Sydney; and her children's lives are underpinned by the differing Jewish traditions of her family and her husband's family. The themes underlying the story are those of family and community versus individuality; choice versus obligation; and tradition versus modernity. And underlying the entire narrative is the importance of food and cooking, which goes beyond the mere provision of suste-nance to express warmth, love and hospitality.