How much did Kipling love Indian food?

South Indian Thali, by Parvathisri, via Wikimedia Commons Kim learns he will be sent north, to another horrid barracks school; he has to go somewhere during St Xavier's school holidays. He dreads the "raw beef on a platter" and smoking by "stealth". He craves "strong-scented cardamoms, ... garlic and onions, and greasy sweetmeats." He disguises himself as a Hindu boy and avoids the man he is to travel with, a man named De Castro who is dressed like a sahib and covered in "prickly heat" (Kim in native gard yearns for the "caress of soft mud squashing up between his toes"). Kim looks forward with glee to the "fat days before him". Aside from days in familiar clothes, with familiar people, these are surely days of better food, of "mutton stewed with butter and cabbages."

It is his old life he craves and will live again, with full enthusiasm. But he has accepted his schooling by this point, and can now write, a "magic worth anything else." He is starting to question his identity, as the stanza of poetry at the beginning of the chapter implies he will: "which planet mends thy threadbare fate". I expect more of this from the remainder of the chapter.

And how much did Kipling love Indian food? I have no idea. But I love Indian food so much I find it hard to imagine that anyone who has eaten a good sample of it more than twice isn't forever enraptured.