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Nevin Halici


Learning about the Turkish culture
Claudia Roden Writer
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And then every night we had our talks. We all came prepared because they asked us to have papers. And we all had papers about what our idea of Turkish food was. And the Turkish food that we encountered in the country. But also about other subjects. Not just about Turkey. But it was all in English. And then every evening there was an event, like a whirling dervishes event. Visit to the markets. They really, really wanted us to learn, and it was the brother of Nevin who had been a senator – I think he was still a senator – who actually gave big talks in Turkish, which none of us understood. Somebody translated a bit, and he wanted us to really appreciate the great cuisines of Turkey.

And so, then they decided that they were going to do a conference every two years. And they did. And we went every two years. Nevin Halici, the sister, who was the main person behind the organisation of what we were going to learn of Turkish recipes and Turkish food – he and other organisers were deciding all the fun bits. But she was doing that. And then, she decided to learn English. She went to Brighton to learn English. And she actually came and stayed here once. But she became a great friend. But she was also, I realised... I already realised then that she had decided... she had not been allowed by her father to go to school, because he was very religious in his carpet shop in Konya. He held every evening study of the Koran. And singing. But he had become rich, and he sent his sons to university abroad. But his daughters were not allowed to go even to school. But she managed to learn, in secret, because she went to stay with her brother who was a senator, and she went to school. In the end she even got a PhD. 

Claudia Roden (b. 1936) is an Egyptian-born British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist of Sephardi/Mizrahi descent. She is best known as the author of Middle Eastern cookbooks including A Book of Middle Eastern Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food.

Listeners: Nelly Wolman

Claudia Roden talking to her granddaughter Nelly Wolman about her life in food.

Tags: Turkey, Nevin Halici

Duration: 3 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023