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Cooking means happiness


The Jews of Morocco
Claudia Roden Writer
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And what also was a surprise to me was that the young man of the family... It was his home, they had children and his wife, and his mother was there and his father. And they had come, and he said, 'You know our family is of Jewish origin. Originally our ancestors... they had fled, at the time when one of the dynasties in Spain had tried to force Jews to convert'. So, a lot of Jews went north. But some Jews came to Morocco, and then in Morocco, they were pressured to convert. And so, I don't know what century his family had converted. But they knew that. For me... I have some people say, like my parents... we always joked because they travelled. And they came back, and they said, 'We met these Jews there'. And we just said, 'How is it that you seem to find them?' So, I seem to find them. But it's also because they know me, and they find me. So, they tell me. And it happened a lot in Spain. But in Morocco people were also able to tell me what they cooked. The Jews of Essaouira. I didn't go to Essaouira. But it was a very Jewish city called Mogador when it was built, all Jews were invited to go there. There are several synagogues. And now they have all these music festivals where I want to go to one day, where Jews come to play as well as the locals. And Muslims from all over. So, for me it's a wish that one day there won't be war.

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: Morocco

Duration: 2 minutes, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023