The kitchen as a battlefield

A culinary war has been simmering for some time on social networks around the belonging of certain dishes to Morocco or Algeria. The stakes of the valuation of gastronomy occurred in this sense will reduce them economic or socio-cultural aspects to touch on geopolitics…

A culinary war has been simmering for some time on social networks around the belonging of certain dishes to Morocco or Algeria.

Anything goes: filling in the gaps by thefts and looting of recipes and images to such an extent that photos of Moroccan chef’s dishes have cheerfully served as illustration and tourist advertising on the other side of the borders (see, in this sense, a photo of chef Nadia pumped some time ago by the newspaper Ennahar), the falsification of Wikipedia content, systematically attacked by teams used to modify the pages linked to Morocco in order to replace them with Algeria or more generally with the Maghreb to better drown the fish.

This is how the article of the collaborative encyclopedia relating to the argan tree, to speak only of links to the kitchen and that of this endemic tree of Morocco where it has been present for thousands of years along forests reputed, known several attempts to exclude the host country in favor of Algeria.

However, a brief research on this subject leads us to an article of the “Revue des sciences naturelles appliqués” dating from 1895 where we learn that for the sowing of the Garden of test of Algiers, seeds of argan tree were brought back from Morocco in 1891 and that “with the exception of the plants now in Hamma and a few stunted subjects elsewhere”, there are “no other Argan trees in Algeria worth mentioning”.

It must be said that this duel at loggerheads began a few years ago in the form of a couscoussiers squabble between political leaders, each claiming this essential dish as a national dish in an attempt to obtain the precious sesame of registration a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We don’t mess with the kitchen!

Because, see you, drinking and eating are far from being minor themes.

The stakes of the valorization of gastronomy occur indeed the economic repercussions or the socio-cultural aspects to touch with the geopolitics.

The art of the table, if it is linked to tourist activities, allowing you to taste the riches of a civilization and to soak up the culture of the destination, also allows you to play the role of marker of an identity. .

And if Moroccan cuisine undeniably enjoys wide international recognition, as evidenced by the number of restaurants bearing the Moroccan label in the four corners of the world, as well as the number and high rank of distinctions in competitions and other classifications, it nevertheless it is necessary to work twice as hard.

Objectives: draw up an inventory of recipes and ingredients, safeguard know-how, historically and anthropologically document resources, encourage local heritage in order to fight against all forms of standardization…

Small everyday dishes do not count for butter!

Just in the register of cereals, there are countless dishes with different methods of preparation, ingredients and names depending on the region: barley semolina soups Chicha we Belboula; thick barley or wheat porridge called Tagoula we AAIDS; so-called cracked wheat porridge Herbel; the soupIllane, from the Berber name of this cereal identified with millet; the so-called fine semolina soup Smida we Hsouwa

What about the varieties of breads and pancakes that are equaled only by the multitude of regions, tribes and traditions.

Let us cite by way of non-exhaustiveness: the Tanourte popular in the South, prepared without yeast in its rustic form; IAghrom tafernout, oven-baked; the Botbout fermented; IAkhebbaz from Taghazout or Tinjdad, cooked on small pebbles in an oven… Among the Aït Hdiddou in Imilchil, let us mention theAhattouchembellished with aromatic plants, and the very surprising Bahmmou whose preparation resulted in the envelopment of a round stone, just as theAbadirthis big festive bread, a sign of sharing, calculated nearly a meter in diameter, kneaded by men, prepared in the open air on a heated stone.

Without forgetting the pasta, mentioned in two famous culinary treatises of the 13thand century : Berkukech, Fdawech, dwida and others Mhamsa of which women were the outstanding specialists.

But even if it means setting foot in the dish in the eyes of some, and while asking for protection against falsification and looting, I refuse to invest culinary heritage as an arena.

Whether we watch it or not, there are, beyond the differences, common dishes, then developed local specificities but so improved anchored in African soil that it would be foolish to want to make it an exclusive property according to or to go up in vain a history proving any paternity going back to Methuselah.

This is the case with couscous and its variants such as Abadaz (name arabized in Baddaz), made with cornmeal.

This is the case of Sellou of Berber origin, originally said Asellou, which comes in the form of toasted cereals and honey and which was described by the geographer El-Idrissi as an old African dish.

Without forgetting dishes for special occasions such as Thirddescribed in specialized medieval books which provide more than twenty-six recipes, the most famous of which is the Lemtuniyafrom the name of these Saharan nomads who founded the Almoravid empire with Marrakech as the capital.

In short, and for the anecdote, the very names of certain dishes and utensils form a joyful mix and denote an elsewhere of bearers of wealth.

To stay just within the lexical framework, theabadir is a Phoenician word integrated into Roman mythology, mrouzia stems from Merv in Central Asia, jenoui east of Genoa, al-asheq comes from Turkish kaşık pointing to the spoon, the siniya means Chinese and the jabbaniya Japanese !

So what is cooking worth without sharing?

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