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The new cookbook is ready


Cooking for my children
Claudia Roden Writer
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My family has given me also all the joys of my life. It is a bit what my father said. What matters, that I like that role. My role as a nurturer. And we together, the family was around the table. We always had big dinners, the whole family coming. Big lunches on Sunday, was easier. And it wasn't on the Friday night religious dinner, it was anytime when we could, when everybody could be together. And I think I've followed nurturing, or rather, I made nurturing broader. That I did it for my friends, that we wanted to enjoy a good meal, enjoy being together, this togetherness was important. And my friends had a lot to say, we're big talkers all of us. And just the other night I went to dinner at a friend who was here, and the same group who had been coming here testing Med. And I just thought, yes, they also did it. That it is sort of something that we passed on. But they would do it anyway.

But yes, so, cooking for my children had always been my thing. But there I was cooking and asking them, 'Do you like it?' And they're outspoken. They tell me, 'No'. I mean, for all the time, some of my grandsons for instance, and some of my granddaughters, who are in their 20s, would say, 'I would put some sumac here'. And I say, 'No. This is a Moroccan dish. I'm not putting sumac. They don't use sumac'. Or they would say, 'Put tahina'. I'd say, 'No, this is a Moroccan or Tunisian, no tahina'. And then they would say, 'Put harissa in a dish', they had got used, through the food that is now fashionable in England, they go about, eat everywhere. And they got used to all these things. Dukkah, which was my mother's recipe for dukka. Yes, all the kind of things that are condiments and my grandson would say, why don't you put that. And somebody would say, 'Yes, I would put some pomegranate seeds'. I say, 'No. They didn't put pomegranate seeds. We put them where I want them'. But I did feel free, I wanted their advice because it was also their tastes, what young people like. Because it was a book for a new generation and what do they like, mattered very much to me. 

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: children, food, food critics, advice

Duration: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023