Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Chicken and the Clegg

Miriam Gonzślez Durśntez - Town Hall

Miriam Gonzślez Durśntez - Town Hall

AS well as being a partner in an international legal practice and an expert on European trade law, Miriam Gonzślez Durśntez has helped found an educational movement for girls and has just written a book on Spanish cuisine.

Oh, and by the way, she happens to be Nick Clegg’s wife! In a refreshingly frank way, she explained to the Town Hall audience why retaining her last name is not only a Spanish custom but is important for her as an individual and as a professional woman.

She has also not taken British citizenship as she feels her Spanish identity keenly. What we learned about Miriam’s background may account for her independence and her strong views.

Her father was a local politician and, at the dinner table, not only was the food important but also the long discussions which followed, often about politics.



The first eight years of her life were under the Franco dictatorship, which is perhaps why she values freedom and choice so highly.

Her views on Brexit were unequivocal. She believes that it has opened the gate for prejudice and sees it as a symptom of a worrying, Europe-wide trend to extreme political positions and parties, be it to the right or left.

She emphasised that the only satisfactory way to solve problems is by “open international engagement”.

When asked about suddenly being thrust into the limelight during the years of the coalition government, she said she was shocked at first and tried to “fight it”.

Then she decided to take advantage of the situation by using her public image in launching the “Inspiring Women” movement, which now has 26,000 volunteers in Britain and is expanding to other countries.

Miriam’s book, Made In Spain: Recipes and stories from my country and beyond, developed from teaching her sons about Spanish cuisine and the role of food in families.

The food can be simple but what’s more important is the occasion of being together and talking together. She was asked whether Nick, like their sons, participates in the cooking.

Her response was clear. He once cooked some chicken, but never again.

There is, however, one thing he claims he can make better than Miriam — and that’s porridge!

Review: Ruth Bancroft



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