Non­fic­tion

My Mother’s Spice Cup­board: A Jour­ney from Bagh­dad to Bom­bay to Bondi

  • From the Publisher
April 30, 2012

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. 

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