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In search of cucina tipica in Italy


A Taste of Italy
Claudia Roden Writer
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After the Mediterranean series, I was asked by the Sunday Times to do a magazine series on the food of Italy. They called it A Taste of Italy. And they asked me to go to every, it was the regional foods that they were interested in. And they asked me to go to every region of Italy, and to research the food. And they said, 'Go, stay where you like'. I always stayed in very cheap places, and they kept saying, 'How can you find such a cheap place?' The editor, they always wanted to go to a better place. They said I showed them up. Because I wanted to go to pensione, I didn't want to go to hotels. I wanted to go where tourists didn't go. Where the local people were on holiday. And I could then go into, where everybody was sitting and say, 'Have you got any recipes?' But also, it was the real Italy. And... yes.

So, I did... for me that was the most fantastic job I could ever imagine having. And they also said, 'Eat everywhere you like. You can invite somebody, so that you are not alone. Invite people. Go where you want. Eat everything you can possibly eat. And come back with lots of stories'. Because they said they wanted it to be a series. They took up 16 pages of the magazine each week. Almost all of the magazine. Because they wanted men to be interested. So, 'Bring back stories that men want to read'. Because in those days, food was only for women's pages. Men just weren't interested. And so, what men were interested in is what I was interested in anyway. 

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: Italy, Sunday Times

Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023