My Mother’s Spice Cupboard is the true story of the author’s Sephardic Jewish family’s journey from Baghdad to Bombay (now Mumbai) to Sydney. Unlike most other Diaspora Jews, the author’s parents were born and grew up in Bombay, and her grandparents were from Iraq, Burma and India. Her father’s family immigrated to Australia; her mother’s to the United States; both in the 1960s. Her parents married in Sydney and raised their family there, alongside members of their former Bombay community. My Mother’s Spice Cupboard is the story of what happened to a community which no longer exists, how its members built new lives in different countries, 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, and to what extent upbringing is influenced by culture, language and cuisine. 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 sustenance to express warmth, love and hospitality.
- Four Generations of Lunch, from India to Australia by Elana Benjamin