Thursday, December 15, 2011


While I was reading someone else's blog (something I like to take the time to do once and a while)... I came across some commentary about the entomology of the word curry

I rather quickly threw together a response to what I had seen and then thought it's an interesting enough subject to mention here. 
so I'll nab bits of what I said and try to make it into a somewhat decent post

Curry as we know it today is a spicy Indian food which is usually comparable to a stew-like dish, or at least this is a good description of a typical English style Indian curry

What is often pointed out in many books and all over the internet is that "Curry" stems from the Tamil word Kari which apparently means "sauce". This had also come up in the line of conversation. The problem with this is that "Kari" shows up in reference to more than just sauces or anything prepared with spices and it shows up for items both cooked and raw. So, though it can be used in reference for a spicy dish that we may know as curry, it will also show up for other non-related food preparations because it is how the word is used that matters. This is sort of like saying "g food" means prepared with grease and "m food" means cooked over coals, while some poor fella is invited over for a spicy dinner of "h food" and concludes that "food" is that particular spicy dinner. This could be very well what is happening here.

Now to step back into our own past, we have Curye, "Cury", "Curie", "Kewery" and even "Cure" along with the French "Keuerie", "queuerie", "Queurie" and "Cuire" that is seen in 14th-15th century sources (possibly earlier) as meaning something closer to "cookery" (or even "prepared/cooked food"). This use of "Cury" and the Tamil word "Kari" are not so much different, yet used in a fairly different manner, and the same can be said for our modern use of the word "curry".

Now, I do not know if ours came first, if theirs did, or if it even matters. There seems to be a good similarity to be considered coincidence, but the possibility is there. I do not know, however, if anyone can claim with any authority that one derived from the other... not yet anyway, though I do welcome positive proof.

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