It’s time to talk about food and the all the women behind all the wonderful meals that I eat.
For anyone Moroccan or not, the word they will hear the most when invited for a meal is “Kuli! Kuki! Kuki!” (Eat! Eat! Eat!) You’re told right when the food hits the table. When you take a break to breathe, even when in mid-bite. Moroccan moms love to cook and they love to make you fat. They love food so much that they have 4 meals a day. I’m not talking 4 small meals or 4 medium meals, or 1 small meal and 3 medium meals. I am talking 4 bigger than your face, family size meals!!! The food in Morocco is also incredibly diverse. Every Moroccan Mama has her own touches and secret ingredients that they swear by. And for every house I’ve been at there’s always something I’ve never had before. But I’ll only be talking about my host mom’s cooking.
So let’s dig in!!!!!
Starting with breakfast. For breakfast I will always find a basket of baguettes fresh from the bakery down the street, a bowl full of dates, olives and fruit. There usually will be some spread for the baguette and this could range from chocolate spread (like Nutella), cheese, olive oil, or my host mom’s home-made jam, which could be anything from apple jam to orange jam.
- side note – my host mom makes the best jams/jellies in the world!!!! I know I said it. Sorry Huetteman family, but it’s true. Grandma, you got a run for your money!!!
Sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll get scrambled eggs sprinkled with cumin and of course this is always with tea and or coffee.
If I had to pick the biggest meal it would be lunch. Usually consisting of one big dish with lots of little side dishes. Lunch can range from llubia (beans), fried fish, lbisara (pea soup), l3dss (lentils), couscous (but only on Fridays) and tajine. Tajine has become my favorite meal. God is it good!!!! Tajine is usually made in a clay shallow pot with a cone lid. It’s typically made with vegetables, meat and spices. It all get slowly cooked (about any hour) and because of the cone lid, magic happens inside the tajine. All the flavors are magnified with a bit of a smokey taste. You just have to come to Morocco to try it for yourself because my description doesn’t do it justice.
Now it’s teatime! At around 6-8pm we have Kaskort (snack), but this isn’t your American
idea of a snack. This is like another meal. Kaskort usually consists of lots of baked goods like cakes and bread. The two most common kaskort dishes are millwe and harcha (cornbread). Harcha is just like a thinner crisper version of America cornbread, but honestly it’s better! Millwe is a flat flakey bread usually about the size of a big plate. It’s common to eat it with jam or chocolate spreads. Millwe It’s so good, like dangerously good!!!! Before you know it you’ll have eaten 5. And of course there is tea with a ton of sugar. It’s more like sugar with tea, at least in my family.
And now we end with dinner. Moroccans eat dinner really late. I mean really late!!! Like from 8 to midnight. I usually skip dinner because my family has dinner at 11:30pm and well I’m just way to tired and full from kaskort to eat dinner. But when I do have dinner it’s common to have Moroccan Soup 7ahra, pea soup, rice with milk or dessert pasta. Yes you read that right, dessert pasta with almonds, raisins, cinnamon and sugar.
Another really important thing to know about meals in Morocco is that they are communal. Everyone eats out of the big plate and you eat out of your little triangle. You don’t eat out of someone else triangle and you never eat with your left hand because that hand is for cleaning yourself. Also, everything and I mean EVERYTHING is eaten with khubz (bread). Khubz is your spoon, it’s your fork. You also eat khubz. Khubz is considered very holy in Morocco hence this is why it is eaten at every meal. It is made with so much care and love. It is never wasted. You will never find bread in the trash. If there are leftover scraps they are put in a separate bag which is then left out in the street for anyone to take. To give you a better picture of how sacred bread is, one day I was walking down the street and I saw an old man kneel down to pick up a little scrap of bread that was left in the street. As he picked it up he kissed the bread, said a blessing, and put it on a window sill.
And with that I just want to give a HUGE shoutout to my host Mom. She is 26 years old and the strongest woman I know. Besides making amazing meals she takes care of the house, does all the shopping and cleaning on top of taking care of 3 kids plus me! Thank you to all the Moroccan Mommas for making sure I am loved, for showing their affection by yelling “Kuli! Kuli! Kuli!” as I’m mid-bite, and for making sure I go to sleep with a belly stuffed full of food. I feel your love, a little too much! Now I gotta go run a marathon to work off this bread!