a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Wet nurses in Egypt


Nannies in Egypt did not cook
Claudia Roden Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

The Slovenes were obsessed suddenly to find out. Because for years all the women went back to... she went back when my parents left. And she was then looking after one of her brothers and she would go to church every day. And she would write to me always to say... long letters saying be good to mama. And so, the Slovenes told me that it had been a taboo subject. All their generation never heard about their grandmothers going abroad. They knew vaguely. It was something they went to Egypt, but it was a taboo subject. It was a taboo subject because people thought... first of all, they had missed the war, they had been in Egypt during the war, when people in Slovenia suffered terribly. They were partisans against the Germans. And they thought the women had had affairs with Muslim men. Because somebody had written a novel that they came there to be in... what do you call them, harem. In a harem. And they had all kinds of ideas. But also when they came back, they came back knowing French. And they came back not as cooks, they didn't cook. First of all, their men, their husbands – if they had husbands – had found somebody else. And the children, those who had children, were angry that they had left them. And they did not care about them. And so, they came, and they were ostracized. They were women who... people, somebody who went to write about the food in Slovenia, he was an America. Not in Slovenia, in Friuli. And he went to Slovenia as well, he was writing about opera and food. And he went to look for all the old women because old women know the food secrets. And all of them told him they were from Egypt – they were nannies in Egypt and they didn't cook. Actually, my nanny did cook. She cooked Italian, Slovene food. It was polenta and pasta and things like that. And when we were little, she was the one who cooked for us. 

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, Slovenia

Duration: 3 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023