Never Leave Home Without Your Chilli Sauce
Constance Singam's love affair with food began with her mother's Keralan cooking. For Constance and her family, a good meal is evocative. After decades of social activism, travel and kitchen mishaps, food is still able to transport her back to a time of street hawkers, wet markets and when spaghetti was considered strange and foreign.
In this memoir, Constance recounts the evolution of food against a backdrop of Singapore's social fabric over the last 70 years.
"Constance Singam's food memoir is a captivating read and, in relating the experiences of her family, evokes many memories of a bygone era. Her adventures with food are really interesting and some anecdotes had me laughing. And I can't wait to try some of the recipes that pepper every chapter.”
– Wong Ah Yoke, food critic, The Straits Times
“Connie Singam, advocate for women’s issues in Singapore, is less well-known as a great chef. Among friends, we know otherwise. Connie’s cooking, when I tasted it at her lovely home, spoke volumes of the culinary heritage of Singaporean South Indians, and then of a cosmopolitan Singapore where a large proportion of our people have travelled or lived abroad.
Her memoir echoes many stories familiar to Singaporean families. Days spent under the shade of coconut palms in compounds (not gardens), of family feasts spread out on long tables in the backyard and of marketing in Tekka and Serangoon Road. These shared experiences showcase a valuable part of Singapore’s cultural and culinary history that is not just important for those of a certain vintage, but also for those who are much younger.”
– Violet Oon, chef and restauranteur
“This book offers a rare glimpse into Singapore’s diverse culinary heritage and is written in a style that is as warm and inviting as the recipes that it contains.”
– Dr Leslie Tay, author of Only the Best! The ieatishootipost Guide to Singapore’s Shiokest Hawker Food
“A feminist, food lover and excellent cook all rolled into one. Who could ask for more? I have had the honour of savouring Connie’s cooking; and being a fan of cooking myself, I am extra pleased that there are so many of her recipes in this book.”
– Pam Oei, actress
“Connie inspires. And she does exactly that as she shares vivid memories of tastes, smells, the origins and sharing of food. She makes us remember what we ate, and to treasure time spent at the table with family and friends.”
– Alan John, author of Good Grief! Everything I Know About Love, Life & Loss I Wish Somebody Had Told Me Sooner
“A veritable feast of transnational tastes, memoires, histories and recipes to pique a reader’s appetite. Constance Singam truly knows that the way to the heart of Singapore is through its ample stomach.”
– Philip Holden, author of Heaven Has Eyes and Professor of English, National University of Singapore
“Many an idea has hatched over eggs and appam at Connie’s. Many an issue of hidden or blatant injustices hotly debated over Kerala fish curry, letters to a public authority or the Forum pages composed right there and then with the carefully laid out dishes pushed aside. Connie may be persuaded to temperate her curries to suit your palate but the Mother of Civil Society, as she is fondly embraced, will be sure to leave something to keep that fire in your belly ignited. No matter how you arrive, you almost always leave with renewed optimism for the world, for your country, for literature (!), for yourself; feeling you can do anything. Having a place set for you at Connie’s can seem akin to having your place in the world. This slim volume is the next best thing.”
– Dana Lam, artist and author of Days of Being Wild: GE2006 Walking the Line With the Opposition
About the Author:
Constance Singam is an author and civil society activist. Her career path took her into journalism and teaching. She took a degree in English Literature in her 40s, and a Master's degree in her 60's. In the last 30 years, Constance has led women's organisations, co-founded civil society groups, been a columnist in several national publications, contributed to and co-edited several books. Her works include Building Social Space in Singapore, Singapore Women Re-Presented and her memoir Where I Was: A Memoir from the Margins. She blogs at http://connie.sg.
Size: 180mm x 235mm
Published: October 2016