“Eat! Eat!” are the words that Flower Power tells us at each meal. I worked my butt off to lose 10 lbs in 6 weeks, but I think that they have come back due to the great food that has been prepared for us.
We have hard boiled eggs, with a chunk of bread, spread with cheese, and drizzled with olive oil. Now the olive oil here is so much more flavorful than anything I have had in the States. It is absolutely delicious.
This is followed by fruit, melon, bananas, grapes, and olives.
Lunch comes on pretty quickly. A meal cooked tangine style ( like a crock pot set on top of the gas stove top, with a tall lid that catches the condensation and drips back on to the food inside). A little piece of meat, lots of veggies, and amazing spices.
And of course bread, with olive oil… you use the bread as your eating utensil. All food is served in the same pot that it was cooked in.
And then you follow up with fruit.
Mint tea with fresh pastries in the late afternoon, and dinner at night. Once again, a one pot meal, served with bread, cheese, olive oil, and fruit and yogurt.
We are stuffed. Can’t tell Flower no, even though her two children refuse to eat. She has to hand feed them like birds to get them to eat. Even though Rita, likes to take the food from the table, play with it, suck on it, and then puts it back in the dish.
The Friday dinner is all about family. The couscous begins early in the morning. First, you go to market to buy the produce. Friday produce is not the best…it is end of the week produce… but it looks pretty good to me.
Cabbage is not bought whole. You say how much you want, and the farmer takes the saw and slices it off, weighs it, and wraps it up. Same with large squash…not bought whole, but sawed off in chunks for only the amount needed for the day.
Then the veggies are washed, peeled, chopped, and placed in huge pots full of spices and oil and simmered all day on low. Then couscous is blended together and the veggies and chunks of meat- either beef or chicken, are arranged in the middle of the platter to serve. The whole family sits on the floor around the low table, and eat with their right hand.
You mush the couscous, veggies and meat together with your fingers to roll it into a thick cigar size shape before putting into your mouth.
Yes… this is messy…but it’s the norm and you are expected to drop pieces on the table. No big deal. It is very important for the whole family to come together every Friday to consume this dinner. It occurs within the majority of Muslim homes, as Friday is their holy day.
Home cooked meals are the norm. Going out to eat is not. Not even at McDonalds, which has a big presence in the major cities. As Flower said, when I asked her if she took the kids to McDonalds, “No, not healthy food. Only food cooked at home.”
The traditional cooking is taught from Mom to daughter beginning at Rita’s age-2 years old. It continues to be a part of life as one grows old. Families ALL live together and take care of one another. Very shameful to send your family members away to a care facility.