On Thursday 14th April I gave a talk at the Catalyst Club about the History of the Vindaloo. This was my sixth talk at the night, and it’s one of my favourite events. The programme is always varied – recently Rosy spoke on Body-Building and Masochism, and ChrisP talked about The Eating Habits of Politicians.
The other talks this month were fascinating – Larissa talking about Effective Altruism, and Cara Courage talking about her BDSM relationship with The Archers. I was particularly interested to learn about the Archers’ active fan culture, which has a higher average participant’s age than many others I’ve heard about.
My talk outlined the history of English curry, although I cut a lot to fit the 15 minutes I had. I also spoke a little about my recent trip to Goa and the idea of authenticity in food and travel. I made things a little more interesting for myself by deciding to serve curry to the audience. This was delivered by the Shahi Tandoori and handed out during the Q&A session.
I mentioned a vegan vindaloo recipe that I particularly liked. This can be found on Happy Cow Vegan. Being vegetarian rather than vegan, I tend to swap the aubergine in this recipe for quorn chicken pieces.
One of the interesting things about public speaking is how it can be hard to gauge the audience response. Parts of the talk were very comfortable, with lots of jokes – laughter means you know exactly how it’s going. But I wish there were a few more jokes in the middle where I go into the history of the curry. I’m booked to give the talk again in August and November, and it will have some significant changes before then. I’m also hoping to put on the longer version in Brighton as well.