Food Programme

BBC Radio 4

Arts, Food

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Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


Claudia Roden: A Life Through Food

February 9th, 2014

Episode 374 of 661 episodes

In 1968 Claudia Roden published her first book, 'A Book of Middle Eastern Food', and with it introduced many people to an unfamiliar food culture. When she arrived in Britain in the fifties, foods like hummus and pitta were nearly unheard of, and "to talk about food was a taboo subject". Things have changed. That these foods are now common-place and mainstream is in large part due to Claudia Roden's work. Going on to write 'The Book of Jewish Food', 'The Food of Spain', 'Arabesque', 'Mediterranean Cookery' and others, and with a new edition of 'The Food of Italy' out next month twenty-five years after its first appearance, Sheila Dillon meets Claudia Roden. Sheila discovers a colourful and turbulent life in which food has meant so much, a life which has shaped a unique and powerful voice in food writing. Claudia was born in 1936 into a family of Sephardic Jewish merchants, into a cosmopolitan Cairo that has, in the wake of the Suez Crisis, long since disappeared. This is the story of a family in exile and the power of food to sustain individuals and entire cultures. With the help of Simon Schama, who is a long time admirer since coming across that first book as a young history teacher, Sheila Dillon charts a remarkable life in food. Presented by Sheila Dillon Produced by Rich Ward.

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