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.


Manolo El Sereno


The Hay Festival Alhambra
Claudia Roden Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I was invited... that is also one way of travelling, when I had... yes, I was researching Spain at the time. But I was asked by the Hay Festival, the British Hay Festival... they did a festival called The Hay Festival Alhambra. And the festival was in Alhambra. And it was a festival in English, about Spain. But it was in particular... the theme was about the Arab influence in Spain. And I was invited to come and speak about the Arab influence. And so did Samuel Clark from Moro. He said, 'I don't speak, I don't like speaking'. But he did speak fantastically, he talked about his restaurant, how he mixed, how he cooked Spanish food and how he saw the Moorish influence. That's why he called it Moro.

And there was another, a woman who was already my friend, called Alicia Rios, who was a food performance artist. And she came to speak as well. And we were organised by somebody called Michael Joseph, who was a British travel writer, brilliant travel writer. He had organised us to come. And he had organised, also, somebody to come from his village where he had a house, where I was going to stay. And that man did a lot for me about Spain. He was called Manolo El Sereno. And he was the nightwatchman of the village. And also, he was there to gauge the height of the river. Measured it.

So, Alicia tricked us, because I was talking about all the influences that I saw, and I had told her... she told me, 'I don't know what to say'. And I said, 'You can talk about these medieval recipes that were Arab. And you can find those dishes here in Spain'. And she said, 'All right'. But when she came she tried to cheat us and to say, 'No, we were Roman dishes'. And so, she was saying we were basically Roman influence in our food. And so, she brought... with Manolo, she came, Manolo brought almost a whole olive tree to show. They brought olive trees and olive oil. And they brought the vineyards. She came with also piles of vines and saying, 'This is who Spain is. We are Roman by influence; we are not Arab by influence'.

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: Spain, Samuel Clark, Moro, Alicia Rios, Michael Joseph

Duration: 3 minutes, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023