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Travelling through Egypt


My research on the Ancient Egypt
Claudia Roden Writer
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And so, I'd come alone. And it was very strange. I was meeting a lot of people to ask them how it had changed for them, or what things were like. But I could see it had changed so incredibly. But for a start, the number of people in the streets. This time I came to give talks and I gave seminars to the Chefs Association; they heard I was coming and they asked me to give seminars. And I asked them, 'What do you want me to talk about?' And they replied, 'What is Egyptian food, what is Middle Eastern food, what is the history of our food and what should we be cooking'. And I just thought, how can they ask me. I left when I was 15. I went back on short holidays. But how could they not know. And so, I really did a lot of research, but one thing I'm glad I researched was antiquity. Ancient Egypt. Because they had... I knew the Egyptologist at the British Museum. And he lived in Hampstead Gardens suburb, and I knew him through his children. And he had just found that a lot had been done to find out what the Ancient Egyptians ate because it was the first time that they had done DNA of their stomachs and guts. And so, I knew that. But I also had looked at the books to see what had been on the tombs, on the frescos and on reliefs. And so, I had something there to talk about Ancient Egypt. Because I did know also about manuscript of the 13th century having been found in Egypt by a few scholars. They hadn't yet translated it. Somebody only just translated it about two years ago. But it had hundreds of recipes. But they were recipes copied from the manuscripts of Baghdad. They were manuscripts that seemed to go around the whole Muslim world where scribes would copy and copy. But they were in there, many recipes that were said to be Egyptian.

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: Egypt

Duration: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023