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Jewish food becomes fashionable


My cookbook comes out at the right time
Claudia Roden Writer
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When it came out in Israel, I did several events in a hotel in Tel Aviv, where I did each night the dishes of another community. We did an Indian community. We did a community from Alsace. We did a community from Italy. We did from... it went on and on, and people came to pay, a lot, to come and eat. But it was very exciting time. And we had the news were there all the time. And the people, the crew said, 'We never ate these things. We never had pomegranate. Molasses'. Now, it's the big thing in Israel. And where is all this from our communities. Where is it? Because they weren't really allowed to show it, and to identify themselves as from there, or from there. They were trying to assimilate. That was the big thing. But by then, there was a new policy in Israel that the cultures of the diaspora matter. People want their cultures. We don't want to lose them. So, my book came out at the right time. And so, I did meet quite a lot of chefs.

And I did... just, I think, six years ago, I got an award at the Israeli Film Festival, for the influence I had on the food. And I was speaking there on the stage with chefs and a food writer, a critic about the influence that I had. Starting from the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean, they showed bits of film from the Mediterranean, the BBC Mediterranean series. But then I got invited by several chefs who were doing Jewish dishes from the diaspora. Mixed them, made them into extraordinary things. And, of course, this is what Yotam Ottolenghi is doing in England. And all over the world.

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: Israel, Yotam Ottolenghi

Duration: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023