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.


Nannies in Jewish families


Wet nurses in Egypt
Claudia Roden Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

In the 19th Century and the early 20th Century, there weren't yet powdered milk and if a woman could not have milk, she had to have a wet nurse. And the Jews felt... the Muslims were used to having women from the villages to come and be a wet nurse. But the Jews felt that they weren't maybe as clean as they were. Because also those who were nannies, we had... for instance, one of our friends had a Muslim nanny and the children... the baby cried, she gave them a bit of marijuana or something. So, we felt, I think, that a European was something that we wanted to have as a nanny to bring up our children. And so, my grandmother did not breastfeed her five daughters. She would not breastfeed them. And so, she must have had a Slovene. But she breastfed her son who was the last for four years. That's telling you something.

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: wet nurse, breastfeeding, marijuana, nanny

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023