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My kibbeh twist


What motivates me
Claudia Roden Writer
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Another thing that moved me was that the person who gave the party – he had the collection of Arab music. And he put records, or rather they weren't records in those days, I'm not sure what they were. Whether they were... when you can hear the music. And suddenly he put the music of an Iraqi Jew, who was a very, very famous Arab musicologist who also played. And he knew more than anybody about Arab music. And I knew that man. I've got his book upstairs. And also, his music, his song. I knew him when he came to London and he was a friend, he was older than me, or maybe not much older. He was a friend of one of my great friends who is an Iraqi Jew in London. And he was there, and he would bring his lute and play. And to go and hear him in Lebanon, I said, 'Ah, this is a friend'. And the man was more excited than I was that he met somebody who had known this man that he revered. So, that was for me, a thing that I feel... I want to say that for me, I'm always there to look for a recipe. To taste a dish. To discover a new product. And that is my big motivation, but it's also a way that I meet people. That I learn about a country. That I learn about a place. And that I also form a tie.

Because then Kamel, he won an award for being a food activist in Holland. He won the Prince Claus Award. And I was asked to talk about him and to do his elage, they say in French. To talk about why he got the award. And so because I saw him becoming really something great. And sadly, I saw him in Paris in December. I say sadly, because he said, 'I struggled and struggled in Lebanon, but in the end, I couldn't struggle anymore'. Because after all their... he struggled when the refugees came, when the Civil War, he was young in the Civil War. And then what happened was this explosion. But he said it's not the explosion. We could deal with that. It's the corruption. And the corruption has killed the country in the end. And they are still there, and I can't do anything about it. And so, he and Rabigh already had moved to Paris, and he's got a boutique in Paris. And not only a boutique, he's got his workshop. He's got his design shop. And he's got a boutique in London, I've got to find it.

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: Lebanon, Beirut, Kamel Muzawak

Duration: 4 minutes

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023