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My childhood in Egypt


The best dressed girl in the village
Claudia Roden Writer
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When I was there – I was there for this festival – it was so moving for me. Because her family were there to hear me speaking. And the next day, I was taken by somebody else who was a sociologist. Because everybody now in Slovenia has gone to university during communism. The people who had been peasants where their grandchildren were scholars or whatever. So, one of them was a sociologist and she wanted to hear all this. And she came with me to their village house. And it was very moving because before that we went to visit the grandma of some of that girl. All my clothes from Egypt, as soon as I grew out of them, went to Slovenia to the village. My nanny sent everything that anybody gave her they went by ship to Trieste, and they were fetched, and they were tables and chairs and everything they were there.

And so this woman was in hospital, she is my age, but a bit younger, so she inherited my clothes. And I went to see her, and she said, 'I was looking forward you had all these beautiful smocks. I was the best dressed girl in the village. And it was something'. And before I went, they had made potizza for me. And they had salamis they made, and they gave me salamis and things they made, they made wine they gave me to take home to London. And I called my brother and everybody and said, 'Come and eat the potizza'.

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: festival, nanny, clothes, potizza, village

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023