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My trip to Turkey


The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
Claudia Roden Writer
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In 2003, my original publisher asked me to do a new book which was the Middle East. But to focus on three countries in-depth. And they were going to make it a beautiful book with illustrations. Because my original book had no photos. And no illustrations. It did have drawings that were beautiful, and I was very happy with that. But at a certain point, people in England would not try a recipe if it wasn't in a photograph. So, they all started doing books with a lot of photographs. But I was quite happy with that. But also, in my first book, I had put all the countries together. It was the Middle East. We hadn't known what to call it. Because there was North Africa, is in the Middle East. We couldn't say Arab cuisine because Turkey isn't Arab. Neither is Persia. And so, we called it Middle East. And somebody told me afterwards you should have called it Near East. So, she thought that I needed to focus, because people had become interested in the foods of particular countries, that they would like to say, this is a whole lot of recipes from Morocco. And another one, in fact, she asked me, 'Could you do three countries?', and I said, 'What about Syria?', she thought which are the best countries. And I said, 'Syria, Persia'. And then she said, 'No, no, no'. Because at the time, Syria and Persia were part of the, what was called, Axis of Evil. And she said, 'Nobody will want to know about the food of those countries'. And so, I chose Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco.

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: Syria, Persia

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023