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My experience of South Africa


The Jewish community in India
Claudia Roden Writer
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And then I met a Jewish woman here, who is a social worker. And she had a family here. And she had been writing recipes and after she gave me recipes she went on to write a whole book on the Jews cooking of Jews in India. But it was her community of Mumbai. And I'm not sure if it was Calcutta, but it was a particular community. And so, when I went to India eventually, I went on two occasions. But when I went to a literary festival in Mumbai recently, a few years ago, I was asked, 'Do you want to meet the Jewish community?' I said, 'No, no, I've finished. I've finished my book. I've been looking for Jews for too long. Now I want to see everybody else'. But they were there. They were there at my talk. And they were shouting out saying, who was the man you didn't want to marry, who came from India. But also, they were saying... 'We make your orange cake', one said. And I put ganache on it. Chocolate ganache on the orange cake. And it was great fun.

I always... people didn't know I was there and even before I wrote my book, when I travelled, because I travelled to promote my first books. I was in places and people would phone and say, 'I know you're here, you don't know me, but would you come for Shabbat?' And so, I discovered what all the Ashkenazi do for Shabbat, and they all do exactly the same. And yes, it was gefilte fish. They had chicken. They had chopped liver. They had tamis. They had various things with no dairy of course. But they all had it.

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: India, recipes, Jews, Shabbat

Duration: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023