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Collecting handwritten recipes


Finding a publisher
Claudia Roden Writer
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I decided I had to go and look for publishers. And I went to all the publishers, all the bookshops, and I looked for publishers' names who cooked. Who had published cookbooks. And I wrote the same letter to all of them. And my younger brother Zaki helped me to write the letter. And I told them, it's the food of this and that. And it's also about the way they lived and the way... I sort of embellished it. So, then I had to do the embellishment. And so, I embellished it, and actually, funnily enough, all of the publishers wanted the book. And one person phoned me. She was Polish. Her father had been Polish in the war, in the Polish army. And they were stationed in Turkey for a reason. So, she had been brought up in Turkey. And her mother was Turkish. But she was Christian. She was maybe an Armenian. I would have thought, but she was from Turkey before the war.

 And so, she was desperate to have the book. And the publisher was Nelson's. And she came right away, and she said, 'We're doing the book'. And she was a brilliant editor. And she was the one who said, 'You have to put a thermometer in your oven', to be sure that the oven temperature is correct. Because your oven might be... it wasn't this oven, it was an oven in the other house. And it was... so it has to be correct. And so, she put into me, 'You have to be correct. You really have to try. You have to re-try', and I really am grateful to her. She is called Helena Radecka. She very soon, as a young women got MS. And she couldn't work. But for a while, she was the great editor. She edited other great books, like Robert Carrier and others. And then she was very soon became... had to stay in bed and died. So, I'm sorry that she isn't here for me to thank her.

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: Helena Radecka

Duration: 2 minutes, 47 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023