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Youth culture I wanted to be part of


In search for ingredients
Claudia Roden Writer
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I would go to Camden Town. There was a shop called Mrs Harrall. And Mrs Harrall was always there alone in the shop. And it was a Cypriot shop. And she had all the kind of things I needed, from bulgur and cous cous and she had halloumi. And feta. All things that you couldn't get anywhere. But... and rose water, orange blossom, pomegranate, molasses. But she didn't sell phyllo. And kadaifi. But there was somewhere a workshop in Kentish Town, where they actually made the phyllo there. And if you went upstairs, they had a sort of space where they pulled the... they made a dough, they pulled it. Two people made phyllo by hand. And then put it on with a heater underneath a canvas and so they did it over a canvas. And they cut it and they wrapped it up, gave it to you. And, of course, they already... they had many readymade, you could go and just buy them. But it was wonderful to go and watch them make it. And they also made kadaifi. And they sold pita bread. Because they made pita bread. And in those days, nobody had ever heard of pita, or seen a pita. And I remember when I... in my first book, when I wrote pita bread is a bread with a pouch. People said, 'How could there be a pouch in a bread, there can't be a pouch in a bread'. And I gave a recipe of how to make your own. But at that time, we were so glad to go and find that.

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: Camden Town

Duration: 2 minutes

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023