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The Couscous Festival


The diverse culture in Turkey
Claudia Roden Writer
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There was this incredible feeling that we were really learning what Turkey was. For instance, the Turk who... with the wrought iron merchant, he was giving us these magnificent dishes. And then we realised that his wife and the women were upstairs. They didn't come down to be with us, because women in that part of Turkey were so... it was socially backward, Konya was. And that's why when I came to travelling earlier on, it was the men who took me to restaurants and there were never any women with me. Except the women who is a translator. And a woman who arrived from Istanbul to do their taxes. To check their taxes. Because there was this incredible contradiction that it was the first country where women got the vote. And so, women in Istanbul were extremely advanced. Whereas in the countryside they had not got any of that modernity. And they were still religious and backward socially. So, that was Turkey.

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

Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023