Breakfast and Lunch in Barbary (Morocco), 18th Century

West African map by Jackson, showing tracts followed by the caravans from Fas to Timbuctoo

J.G. Jackson, resident and traveller in Barbary for many years, loved to explore the Atlas mountains and surrounding areas with Moroccan friends.  Here, he describes a couple of meals enjoyed in a Shelluh camp:

…A friend of L’Hage Muhamed presented us with honey and butter, thin shavings of the latter being let to fall into a bowl of honey for breakfast. This bowl was served up with flat cakes kneaded without leaven, and baked on hot stones; these are converted from corn into food in less than half an hour; they are in shape similar to our crumpets or pancakes.

We were pressed by this Shelluh to stay and dine  with him, which being agreed to, he sent a shepherd to his  flock to kill a fat young kid, which was roasted with a wooden  spit, before the vital heat had subsided, which was very  tender, and of an exquisite flavour.

The bread or cakes above described appear to be similar to what the women kneaded for the guests in the patriarchal ages: indeed, the customs of these people, as well as those of the Arabs, is precisely the same as they were in the patriarchal ages, and which are delineated in the 18th chapter of Genesis, 1st to the 8th verse.

The honey of this province is very fine: it has an aromatic flavour, derived from the wild thyme and other aromatic herbs on which the bees feed.

Among these people it is reckoned uncourteous or vulgar to bite the bread; therefore the piece broken off is sufficient for a mouthful, so that there is nothing that should offend a delicate appetite in this antique mode of eating.


About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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