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.


Discovering French cuisine and wine


Lycée Hélene Boucher
Claudia Roden Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I was in a lycée, but I was a boarder. And the boarders were... very few of them because it's not part of the French traditions to send their children to boarding school. And so, the other children were from the colonies, from Equatorial Africa, from North Africa, and there were pupils of the state. The pupils of the state were Jews whose parents had been killed during the war. And that was '52. So, it was only a few years after the war. And so, for me, that was my realisation of what had been happening. And so, the boarders were sent to... went to sleep in a villa in Bois de Vincennes. The school was Lycée Hélene Boucher. And it was in the Porte de Vincennes. And we lived in a villa, in a wood. And we took a coach every day to come to school and then we did our homework at school, and then we went back in the coach. And for me, the coach was singing. We had all these songs. And it was a very, very happy time. Because first of all, France was different from England. It had been through the war. The young people were very, very politicised. Because things had been terrible, and everybody was interested in politics, in life, in everything. In philosophy. And so, at school I had joined several clubs, or rather groups, that were doing literature. A Marxist club, I had joined. And poetries.

But in the boarding school too, it was very intense, our friendships. There were quite a few people from Vietnam because Vietnam was at war with France. And these were children whose parents had collaborated with the French, or with working for the French. And their brothers were communists. They were... There was so much discussion. Whereas in Britain, we only talked about what dresses and their balls. Because they were all going to have balls, coming out balls. And it was just not my world. I just felt totally alien then.

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: Paris, France

Duration: 3 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 26 November 2023