Sheep roasted in a Hole – Morocco, 18th Century

Morocco and surounding region, by Jackson. 18th Century

A picnic organized by J.G Jackson during his years of residence in Santa Cruze in the late 18th Century:

About four miles east of Santa Cruz, in a very romantic valley surrounded by mountains, are found the ruins of a Portuguese tower. Tildie, which is the name of this place, abounds in plantations of the most delicious figs, grapes of an enormous size and exquisite flavour, citrons, oranges, water-melons, walnuts, apricots in great abundance, and peaches, &c. &c.

[I invited some Arabic friends to a picnic in the spot, suggesting that they prepare the meal in the traditional way.  For the sheep that was to be roasted in the ground, they dug a hole]… in the ground; the inside was plaistered with clay; after which they put fire in the hole till the sides were dry; they then put the sheep in, and the top was covered by clay in the form of an arch, fashioned and constructed by the hand only; they afterwards made a large trough round this temporary oven, and filled it with wood, to which they set fire. The sheep was about three hours preparing in this manner, and it was of exquisite flavour; the … mutton [that was roasted on a wooden spit] also was equally well flavoured.

No vegetables were served with this repast; for I had desired that the fare should be precisely according to their own custom; I therefore declined interfering with the arrangement of the food. This mode of cooking is in high estimation with travellers.

These people never eat vegetables with their meat. When they see Europeans eat a mouthful of meat, and then another of vegetables, they express their surprise, observing that the taste of the vegetables destroys the taste of the meat; and vice versa, that the taste of the meat destroys the flavour of the vegetables!

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!
This entry was posted in Africa-North, Cuisine, Food, History, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sheep roasted in a Hole – Morocco, 18th Century

  1. Moxtar says:

    It’s still done that way. I’ve seen it done in a wedding near Kelat Meggouna a couple years ago.


  2. Pingback: Sheep roasted in a Hole – Morocco, 18th Century « Dianabuja's Blog | Morocco | MAROC MOROCCO

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