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Saint Francis DeSales

World Geography and Culture: Morocco and Northern Africa

Since sweet mint tea is often served by the Bedouin peoples of Northern Africa, we served mint tea at our Around the World night festivities.

Northern Africa includes Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Canary Islands and Western Sahara.
For our geography and world culture studies this year, we are using a book Brenda gave us, World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott. 

"An olive stall in the Marrakesh souk."-World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott
It is more than just a cookbook, with it's incredible photographs and personal stories of the people and places featured in the book. This past week we have been learning about Morocco, and tonight we had a Moroccan feast using recipes from the book.

 Yesterday we had tried Harira Soup, which is actually a spicy stew with a tomato base and includes chickpeas, white beans and pasta. 
"The atmospheric night market in Marrakesh". -World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott
"We ate this version as an early snack before dinner in the night market, where it is served from huge pans and eaten with wooden spoons. Some stalls serve nothing but harira soup, and become very busy during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, when a bowl of harira is a popular way to break the day's fast." 
-World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

It was only fairly received at our house. My vegetarian husband loved it, but the rest of us were not crazy about it.
 Tonight we had full Moroccan feast, starring Marrakesh Tagine. A Tagine is a dish that comes from the Berbers and is named after the type of earthenware pot, which is put over coals, in which the dish is cooked. 

"The Marrakesh markets are full of every imaginable herb, spice and dried fruit... Vegetables are cooked slowly and are served very soft, almost crumbling into the sauce. They are cut into large pieces to prevent them from disintegrating completely." -World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

Since we do not own a tagine pot, our dish had a little more liquid than it should, but that did not take away from its wonderful flavor. It has an eggplant base, sweetened by sweet potatoes, apricots, raisins and cinnamon. It is also spicy, and has a slight curry-like flavor from the turmeric, cumin and black pepper that spice it. I absolutely adored it, and we all agreed that this dish was better than the Harira Soup.
To cool the tongue, this salad and a baguette were served with it. This salad is served with almost every meal in Morocco. A sweet mint tea also accompanied the meal.

"Mint tea is drunk in all the Moroccan pavement cafes, which are mainly frequented by men...Tea is usually served in sturdy glasses, poured from a silver pot and is usually very sweet."
-World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

Quarzazate Couscous

"The food in the desert is much simpler than that we found in the cities. We particularly liked a dish of vegetables cooked almost like a soup and served with lots of fluffy couscous to soak up the sauce. The vegetables were kept whole and simmered until really soft." -World Food Cafe, Global Vegetarian Cooking/Chris and Carolyn Caldicott


After cooking these few dishes, we could see some similarities in Moroccan cooking. They use a lot of red onions, tomatoes, lemons, olive oil, black pepper, turmeric, coriander and cumin.
World Geography Lesson 1: Morocco

World Geography and Culture: Morocco
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11 comments:

  1. The food looks delicious. I shall bookmark this for when we cover Africa.

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    1. Let me know if you wish any of the recipes.

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    2. Thanks Phyllis, I will.

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  2. I like the stories from your cookbook...they give that fun touristy traveler type feel to the recipes - did you feel like you were vacationing?

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    1. Yes, that is quite the idea behind our geography and culture studies. I do not want them to memorize facts and figures but to really feel as if they are visiting. A lot of people do this with their pre-schoolers but then stop once they get older. I think there is a place for this even with much older kids.

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  3. It looks like a great feast was had by all!

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    1. You know how we love to celebrate our learning with a good feast!

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  4. Ha! We just had a Moroccan dinner with friends that lived in Morocco for several years. It was delicious! :)

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  5. It's books like this that have me curled up reading recipe books rather than cooking with them - I am headed to our library site to see if I can put it on hold. It sounds fantastic. (I wonder if they have West African countries in there?)

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    1. Yes, they have Mali, which we will be doing this week.

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  6. What a fabulous theme idea. Love the rich jewel tone colors. I will have to design some invitations using those colors to match the Moraccan theme. Get more info Arabian Nights Theme Party Decoration Service

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