National Curry Week is not a mere celebration of a dish. Instead, it pays homage to a culinary tradition that nourishes millions and has captured the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide.
This special week, which celebrates the spices, aromas, and a rich tapestry of flavors, honors the diversity and richness of curry, a dish that has transcended its cultural origins to become a global favorite.
Many people misunderstand “curry” to mean a single spice. But it’s actually a South Asian or Indian cooking style where cooks use specific aromatic ingredients to create a warm, delicious sauce. Some common ingredients often include onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry powder (from the leaves of a curry tree), and chilies. Conversely, the Western world uses the term curry to refer to an enormous variety of dishes — or the restaurants that serve up this savory cuisine.
History of National Curry Week
The origins of National Curry Week go back to October 1998, when the late UK-based sports journalist Peter Grove decided that the world needed a holiday to celebrate curry’s proud tradition. His passion for this versatile and flavorful dish meant he wanted to educate others about savoring its taste. But he also wanted to recognize and celebrate the depth of the Indian culinary arts.
Grove also saw an opportunity to use this celebration to support charitable causes to end hunger and poverty around the world. Thus, he was able to add a layer of social responsibility to this culinary observance.
The history of curry is as rich and diverse as its warm flavors. In 2018, a team of archaeologists found evidence suggesting that the basic ingredients of curry — including garlic, ginger, and turmeric — were used in India over 4,000 years ago. The British coined the term curry in the 17th century, but they distorted it to mean a variety of sauce-based dishes.
It found its way into English cuisine through Anglo-Indian cooking, and by the mid-20th century, curry had become a beloved dish in the United Kingdom and the West.
How to Celebrate National Curry Week
Celebrating National Curry Week can be an enriching and tasty experience. Here are some suggestions for how become immersed in the world of curry:
Explore Different Cuisines
Curry is not limited only to Indian cuisine. Thai, Japanese, and Caribbean curries all offer unique curry flavors and experiences. Spend some during National Curry Week exploring these delightful culinary traditions.
Cooking at Home
Try a hand at making a curry dish from scratch, using different spices and flavors to create a signature version of this classic dish. Not sure where to start? Cooking in-person or online classes provide tons of tips and recipes.
Support Local Restaurants
Not much of a cook? Visit a local Indian, Thai, or other curry restaurant and get the best of both worlds: authentic flavors and support for small businesses.
Given National Curry Week’s charitable roots, consider donating to food banks or charities focused on hunger relief.
Use this week to learn about curry’s history and cultural significance. A better understanding of the origins and evolution of curry, will deepen appreciation for the dish.
Host a Curry-Themed Potluck
Organize a curry-themed potluck with friends or at the workplace. Encourage each person to bring a different type of curry dish. The variety will let everyone taste and enjoy various flavors from around the world.
Documentary and Discussion Evenings
Arrange an evening to watch documentaries or read about curry’s history and cultural significance. Follow up the viewing with a discussion where participants can share their experiences and stories related to curry. It can be an enlightening way to understand this dish’s global impact and how many lives it has touched.
Host a Canned Food Drive
In the spirit of National Curry Week, consider having a canned food drive in the workplace, school, or neighborhood. Encourage participants to donate canned and non-perishable food items. Honor the spirit of the week and help the local community. To make the food drive more thematic, suggest people donate canned ingredients commonly used in curry dishes, such as coconut milk, chickpeas, or lentils.
Share curry experiences on social media. Snap a picture of a homemade dish or write up a glowing review of a favorite curry restaurant. Be sure to use the hashtag #NationalCurryWeek to connect with fellow curry enthusiasts.
Each of these activities adds layers of depth to the celebration of National Curry Week, just as curry contains so many layers of deliciousness. Remember that this week is about enjoying a meal and understanding, sharing, and connecting over a dish with a long history.