To better illustrate the development and heartache taken by me, Mr. Goudas, to introduce Curry Powder
into the Multi-Cultural North American market, one must first understand how the name derived, the many variations of formulas used in different parts of the country, and then how it spread all over the world.
Actually, the word curry is derived from the south Indian word curriel, was used in the local language (Tamil) for a fish stew made with tamarind and curry leaves (which is where these leaves also get their name even in local languages).
This was then picked up and transformed into the present “curry” by the British.
The word “curry” in English, has no direct translation into any of India’s fifteen languages, and East Indians do not use the term even when speaking English.
I started developing my own particular brand of Curry Powder in the early 1970’s because I had so many
requests for this product.
So then, let us go back to that time and imagine me, Peter Spyros Goudas, who had just entered the ethnic
business, and had a little store in “Kensington Market”as it was called back then.
Imagine further, with my broken Greek-Canadian English, that I was trying to cope with the needs of the different nationalities entering my store.
This story will give you a taste of the very beginning of my journey towards understanding the multicultural society of Canada, which I was determined to capture.
I was travelling the world through my customers.
This was the beginning of the new phase in immigration in Canada.
There were requests for products from customers that I had never heard of, much less pronounce.
I tried everything possible within my power to accommodate and satisfy them.
It was an iniation into a completely different world and wonderful, first-hand learning experience of culture and food.
The request for Curry Powder led to the events about to be revealed in The Curry Story which is as follows:
Initially I thought it would be a good idea to go to an Indian wholesaler who recommended a variety, which I brought into my store.
The wholesaler obviously did the best of advertising to try to sell to his customers.
Up to this point, my customers had endless trust in me, however, the result of the curry selection by the end
of one week was negative.
Several customers brought in their curry chicken and/or curry goat dishes to show me how awful (according
to them) these dishes turned out.
At that point I started thinking about a solution to the problem and as to why my customers were complaining.
The reason was that the curry supplied by the Indian wholesaler, was especially designed to satisfy the taste of his East Indian clientele, which is Madras Curry Powder (one of the oldest East-Indian accepted brands in the world).
Therefore, the non-East Indian customers did not particularly enjoy this taste, due to the mix of the ingredients used, thus rendering an awful response.
I began my research on the problem.
Just a small reminder that this was the pre-internet period, which meant I did not have the resources to “click here” to find out more information about ingredients, and how to obtain them.
Therefore, I had to start from scratch.
Here is the list of the ingredients needed to make curry powder: chillies, black pepper, garlic, salt, cayenne, ginger, coriander seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, thyme, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves.
So...I started experimenting with various proportions of these ingredients to satisfy several ethnic nationalities.
I was not focusing at that time on the East Indian market due to the fact that this ethnic group mixed ingredients
according to their own tastes.
When I asked an East Indian about the curry, the response was always “my curry is better than yours”.
Therefore, I eliminated certain ingredients from the list because they only appealed to the East Indians
(for example cloves, cardamom, and bay leaves).
So, now I had a smaller list of ingredients to work with, but I had to use this shortened list to develop
a curry powder to satisfy my other customers.
Although this seemed like an easy task, I found it was much more complicated than any engineering task I had encountered so far (since I was an aircraft engineer in the Air Force in Greece).
At least in engineering, the plane would fly one way or another, but if I failed in this curry-making task, the
product would never fly which was a danger to my reputation.
To win the 6/49 Lottery today, the correct combinations are endless but attainable.
To make a curry powder under these conditions, aiming to please everyone is nearly impossible.
This is due to the facts that
1) Jamaicans used more thyme in their curry powder,
2) Trinidadians and Guyanese used more cumin and chili,
3) Chinese use more turmeric.
For the next six months, I was having curry for breakfast, curry for lunch, curry for dinner, and dreams of goats jumping with Curry Powder packages tied around their necks instead of bells..
All the while, I was mentally trying to understand the eating habits of the different nationalities and to adapt the taste
into my very soul.
In essence I was trying to mentally transform myself into whatever the nationality to understand the concept and reasoning for the acceptance of their particular taste.
Not just to sell, but to absolutely satisfy the taste preferences of each and every ethnic group.
This was not an easy task. But I was determined and persistent.
Characterics I transferred into the creation of each of my products.
I was becoming a curry monster and in the middle of the night I would have a curry snack.
Needless to say, most of the time my mouth felt like a Chinese dragon spreading fire, and my bottom was like a volcano ready to erupt.
Finally, my curry-pained period paid off and I developed several varieties that were customer tested again and again, allowing me to develop this product to perfection.
Now that I had developed the best blends of curry powders, I discovered that I had another enormous task ahead of me in the marketing of the curry products.
In my first meeting with the general buyer of the largest grocery chain at the time,
I was informed that the store required only one curry powder and that they already had this one curry powder on the supermarket shelves, which according to him, was bought by all of his curry loving customers.
When I inquired who his customers were, he responded that they were Italians, Germans, Polish, French, Swedish and from other European countries.
I then responded that these were only recreational curry users who most likely used curry powder once or twice a year and therefore purchased a small jar.
And even then, they were the ones who complained the next day to their friends and fellow workers about heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea and other symptoms, and blamed it on the curry.
Also, I told the buyer that if he planned to sell curry powder to the Italians, he was sleeping on the wrong side of the bed.
I further told him that half the world’s population are curry lovers and unless he provided the curry that they wanted and liked, he could consider himself out of the curry business.
So the buyer then understood my mentality and allowed me to promote several varieties according to the ethnic makeup of the population in the vicinity of the store.
It is important for one to understand that packaging curry powder in the plastic bag is not as easy as it appears to be.
It is actually quite a complex procedure.
Natural oils from the ingredient list will penetrate and disturb printing and text, therefore bags will tend to stick to each other. If you take one bag from the shelf, then most likely the next package remaining on the shelf will have half of the printing removed.
Therefore, the packaging was made in such a way, that the printing was placed in a protected area between two layers of plastic, polyethylene and polypropylene, food grade materials.
There are many companies capable of producing such materials today, but I spent a long time then, with experts in the industry to achieve these excellent results.
This is why when you see the Goudas bags on the supermarket shelves, they have a nice appeal and presentation.
Another important thing that I have
always practiced, is, that once a product has been launched into the market, its formulation can no longer be changed
for experimental basis.
This is a policy of Goudas Foods and is a prohibited practice in my organization, because the result can be disastrous.
Therefore, the formulation that has been launched years ago, remains the same to date, and will continue to do so because of customer letters such as the one that follows:
Oct. 25, 2004 Bruce Kemsley Ont.
I hope you can help me please. I am a huge fan of a lot of your products & have been buying them for years.
I recently cannot find a particular curry powder called Goudas Tri-ni-dad package.
Can I order directly through your website or can you point me in the right direction as to where to locate?
I love this curry powder, there is nothing else like it out there!!
Thanks in advance for all your help!
Obviously there are customers like Bruce Kemsley that have purchased
Mr. Goudas products over the years.
This loyalty was not because I formulated the best curry powder in the world; it is because I made the appropriate realization of which customer taste is best suited for each different blend of Mr. Goudas products.
According to Mr. Kemsley above, the Tri-ni-dad curry is the best in the world, but in order for others to realize the same bliss in taste, they must understand the amount of work I put into this product to make sure it has the consistency and ability to please that particular customer.
Furthermore, Mr. Bruce Kemsley believes that no matter what new, old or other recognized brand he is offered, he will never be happy, because he has adapted to the taste of this particular blend.
Finally, he states he loves this curry powder and that there is nothing else like it out there.
Curry is a difficult subject,and if a supplier or producer were to tell me that his/her curry powder brand is the best in the world, then I would likely respond to that person with a comment such as: “In your dreams!”
WHAT A STORY!
FOR A BAG OF CURRY!
RICE CARIBBEAN STYLE
It is not an easy thing to see someone have such an expression on their face after the first spoonful, as the girl in cover picture.
But this is the result of this Special
Curry Chicken dish.
To achieve this, you have to start with the proper ingredients:
There are thousands of brands and
varieties of curry available.
In this recipe we use
Prepare as follows:
4 pieces of chicken, preferably back
and leg/thigh combo
(the chicken breast is too dry for curry).
Wash chicken parts and in a large frying pan add ¼ cup of oil, preferably
Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
heat but do not burn.
Add chicken parts and fry for 3 – 4 minutes until light brown. Add 2 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick, 1 chopped celery stalk,
1 diced *chocho, 1 diced potato,
and 1 diced onion ¾ inch thick.
Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
(*Should you be unfamiliar with chocho
or christophene go to your nearest
West Indian Food Store and inquire.)
Add a can of Chicken Broth (no MSG) to enhance the flavour.
Add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced, 2 or 3 pieces of thinly sliced ginger, and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.
Add 2 tbsp. of Mr. Goudas Curry Powder, 1 tbsp. of Trinidad Style Hot Sauce and a little salt and black pepper.
(do not add too much salt
because the curry itself
Add Pigeon peas, stir, cover and let simmer for an additional 20 - 25 minutes.
During this waiting period, prepare the rice. If you are an expert at rice preparation, you do not need my advice.
For those of you who do not know, the following applies:
In a medium size pot bring 5-6 cups of water to a boil.
Add 1-1/2 cups of
a little salt to taste, and
allow to boil until tender to your satisfaction, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
When ready, drain the water and add 2 slices of butter and cover for a few minutes until butter melts into rice.
Please remember no additional heat is required. Let it sit until its time to serve.
The Curry Chicken should
be just about ready.
Make sure that all the broth has not been absorbed since this “gravy”is an important part of the curry.
The odour of this dish should be mouth watering.
The above is the preparation, now it is time to serve. I would like you to treat this dish as one of your marvelous creations and as a treat you have prepared for yourself.
Present at the table accompanied with a side salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and green peppers,
or a romaine lettuce salad.
As far as beverages: serve with red wine at room temperature, or for non-alcoholic drinks, Mr. Goudas Ginger Beer or Snappy Pop Kola Champagne are ideal.
We are very sure that if you are a curry-lover you will have the same expression on your face as the girl in cover picture!!
This recipe has been reproduced with the express permission of the Goudas Foods Company and myself who created it.
Curry chicken is only one variation, you may use goat or beef.
However, goat meat or beef require extra cooking time to become tender before adding the other ingredients.
For vegetarians, eliminate the meat and the chicken broth.
I have exhausted all the pages that were allowed to create this informative booklet.
Hopefully, you have gained some insight info of this versatile spice.
Should you check our website, there is a Recipe Section which includes a variety of recipes.
My recipes are relatively simple and can add an exotic flair to your daily routine.
Over the years, my passion for my work has inspired me to write approximately 50 books. Some reflect recipes,
others offer educational information.
I will be very pleased if you read any of my books found in any location that they are available.
My main objective is to relay information about what it takes to create high quality products from around the world
for anyone to enjoy!
Spyros Peter Goudas