The kitchen as a battlefield

A culinary war has been raging on social networks for some time over whether certain dishes belong to Morocco or Algeria. In this sense, the challenges of promoting gastronomy go beyond economic benefits or socio-cultural aspects to touch geopolitics…

A culinary war has been raging on social networks for some time over whether certain dishes belong to Morocco or Algeria.

Anything goes: filling the gaps caused by theft and looting of recipes and images in such a way that photos of dishes by Moroccan chefs have gleefully served as illustration and tourist advertisement on the other side of the border (see a photo of chef Nadia pumped to that effect). some time ago by the newspaper Ennahar), falsification of Wikipedia content, systematically attacked by teams mobilized to modify the pages linked to Morocco to replace them with Algeria or more generally the Maghreb to better drown the fish.

This is how the collaborative encyclopedia article related 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 known forests, has made several attempts to exclude the host country in favor of Algeria.

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

It must be said that this tense duel began a few years ago in the form of a couscous feud between political leaders, each of whom claimed this essential dish as a national dish in an attempt to preserve the precious sesame of UNESCO registration. get a World Heritage List.

We don’t mess with the kitchen!

Because you see, food and drink are far from an afterthought.

The aim of promoting gastronomy goes beyond the economic benefits or the socio-cultural aspects to touch geopolitics.

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

And if Moroccan cuisine enjoys undeniably 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 awards in competitions and other classifications, it is nevertheless necessarily doubly so. hard work.

Objectives: to inventory recipes and ingredients, to safeguard know-how, to document historical and anthropological sources, to encourage local heritage to combat all forms of standardization…

Small everyday dishes don’t count for butter!

In the grain register alone, there are countless dishes whose preparation methods, ingredients and names vary by region: barley semolina soups chicha True Belboula† thick barley or wheat porridge called tagoula True AIDS† so-called cracked wheat porridge rebel† the soupillane, from the Berber name of this cereal identified with millet; the so-called fine semolina soup blacksmith True hsowa

What about the breads and pancakes rivaled only by the multitude of regions, tribes and traditions.

Let us quote by way of incompleteness: the Tanurt popular in the south, prepared without yeast in its rustic form; l’Aghrom tafernout, oven baked; the bone bolt fermented; l’Achebazi from Taghazout or Tinjdad, cooked on small pebbles in an oven… Let’s under the Aït Hdiddou in Imilchil theahattouchembellished with aromatic plants, and the very surprising Bahmmou the preparation of which is the result of the sheathing of a round stone, just like theabadirthis large festive loaf, a sign of sharing, with a diameter of almost one meter, 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: BerkukechFdawechdwida and others mhamsa of which women were the outstanding specialists.

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

Like it or not, there are, apart from the differences, communal dishes, then developed according to the local specificities, but so deeply rooted in African soil that it would be foolish to want to make them an exclusive property or return in vain. go to a history that proves some 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 descent, originally said: asello, it comes in the form of roasted grains and honey and which was described by the geographer El-Idrissi as an ancient African dish.

Without forgetting dishes for special occasions such as thirddescribed in specialized medieval books containing more than twenty-six recipes, the best known of which are the Lemtuniyaafter the name of these Saharan nomads who founded the Almoravid Empire with Marrakech as its capital.

In short, and for the sake of anecdote, the names of certain dishes and utensils are a cheerful mix and indicate a wealth carried elsewhere.

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

So what’s cooking worth without sharing?

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