Mrs. Kinsey, an expat wife in Malaya who was homesick for her British food came out with The “Mems” own Cookery Book, to help out plantation wives and other expats in the tropics in the Twenties. This cookery book to help tie over expat wives living in far flung places e.g. rubber plantations, tin mines, tea plantations, pepper plantations, where expat mothers, and expat wives had to improvise, made do with local ingredients to compensate for lack of ingredients from home. The “Mems” cookery book is now on display at the National Library of Singapore giving us a fascinating insight in what life must like for a woman, wife, mother, an expat during the colonial times.
It is amazing when as a young woman from Malaysia in the sixties, coming to America, with little access to spices and ingredients to the east, (I found myself in similar situation, that is) improvising with American ingredients to the closest food one can only dream about but not available in restaurants or in the local markets. How things have changed in the last sixty years! All kinds of spices, from coconut milk, yucca (tapioca) chillies, are now accessible to a modern bride coming into the United States of America.
Recently, during a tour of Peru, we were charmed by Chi Fan, a fusion cuisine of Chinese food made to appeal to the Peruvian locals cooked with local ingredients to a version of Chinese food.