There has been a grave oversight so far with the topics we’ve talked about on our blog, because we’ve missed something that is very important to both of us: FOOD! But never fear; we’re making up for that today.
The food we’ve been eating so far has been absolutely fantastic! Mama Naima is a professional cook, and pretty much everything she makes for us is delicious. Cori is basically in heaven because all the warm meals are made up of a combo of freshly cooked veggies and sometimes lentils, beans or noodles. There is also plenty of meat (either beef, chicken, or fish) in every dish to keep Matt happy.
The daily food schedule goes something like this:
- Breakfast in the morning, which for us is usually some form of bread with any combo of oil, jam, cheese, egg, and olives to go with it. Also hot milk for coffee.
- Lunch anytime between noon and 3. This is the main meal of the day and consists of bread, a salad (sometimes), a huge warm main dish, and fruit for “dessert”.
- Cascroot (snack) in the evening around 6 or 7, which is usually similar to breakfast except accompanied by tea instead of milk. There may also be a cake, cookies, or a small savory snack.
- Dinner anywhere between 8 and 10. For us this is usually a small warm dish, as well as some bread to eat it with. Sometimes if we all decide we’re not hungry we have banana smoothies instead (yum!).
You’ll notice that we have bread for every meal (which Matt loves). This is because for the most part, Moroccans don’t eat with utensils – they use little pieces of bread to scoop food out of a big central communal plate. For the most part we’ve adjusted fine to this style of eating, although on couscous Fridays they do still give us spoons so we don’t make a huge mess.
Moroccans are very warm and hospitable people, which extends to their food habits – they are always ready to serve you at least a snack if you show up in their house. We quickly learned we can’t expect to visit someone without getting served tea at the very least (this is why visiting more than one person in an evening can be dangerous). Most hosts here keep a close eye on how much you eat while you’re at their house to make sure they’re providing you with enough food. Mama Naima monitors us at every meal, and if she sees the slightest hesitation, she’ll tell us to “KUL!” (eat!). I don’t think either of us has gotten through a meal with Naima yet without at least 4 or 5 commands to “kul!”, which I think is mostly because she thinks we’re both way too skinny.
One night last week, we decided to explain to Naima that we didn’t want to eat late dinners anymore. We told her that in the U.S. we ate dinner more around 6 or 7, and that we just aren’t that hungry late at night (this is a much discussed issue for many of the PCVs here). She seemed to be fine with that idea and agreed that we wouldn’t eat dinner that night. We were surprised and pretty excited that it had been so easy to explain. She then got up and brought in some cake from the kitchen along with some banana smoothies, which we didn’t mind eating because at least it was something smaller than normal. We finished eating and got ready for bed, and were just about to go to sleep when Anass came home with some food from his aunt’s house and we heard the familiar command… “Ahmed! Layla! Come and KUL!”
Yes, we’d rather not eat fourthmeal every night. However, considering the fantastic food that we eat most of the time, if our biggest problem is that we have to eat too much of it, I think we can probably handle it for the time that we’re in homestay :).