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Steak and chips for Shabbat


Studying the Jewish culture
Claudia Roden Writer
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I really went into to studying about Jews. And Judaism. And the Chief Rabbi, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi, invited me to join their courses. And he had these courses in the evening with brilliant scholars giving talks. And one of them was a future Chief Rabbi called Johnathan Sacks. But several other people, and himself... and I was fascinated. And to thank him, I gave him, later on, much later on, a painting that I did. A huge painting that I can't get into my house, so I got it into the synagogue, or Rabbi Djerba in Tunisia. And now that painting is in my daughter Anna's house. Because it's so big it can only go in the corridor.

But I also went to University College London, and it was the librarian there, Dalia Tracz, and she lent me books. And she advised me on what books to get. And that was fantastically helpful. Fantastically useful. And I read up about the Jewish communities. I also went to Jews College. Jews College, now it's called something like that. It was a Rabbinical School of Rabbis. And I would go there and the librarian there had been a neighbour of my parents in Golders Green when they bought a house. So, he would lend me everything that I wanted. And he would advise me what to get, what to read. And he, actually, eventually read the book to check on any faults in the recipes that made them non-kosher. And he noticed one, where I put a stock cube, a chicken stock cube. And he said, 'It's chicken stock made from chicken. Or chicken bones. You can't have it with whatever it was'. That was maybe dairy or something. So, I had a lot of brilliant help.

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: Jews College, Dalia Tracz

Duration: 2 minutes, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023