Monday, August 24, 2009

Eating Couscous

“Only eat from your part.”
“Make sure it is moist.”
“Split the meat with your neighbors.”
“Make a ball by squeezing, not too hard; roll with your fingers, and toss it around.”

Friday is the day for couscous; women prepare this complex dish for the family; we will enjoy it each Friday as a family of staff in the lunchroom.

Bahar (the jovial-natured lower school Arabic teacher) and Attica (the registrar) gave us these instructions as they demonstrate the proper way to eat couscous, for we will surely have this experience in our students’ homes. The meal came to us in a huge bowl in the middle of our table. At the bottom of the bowl is a lot of couscous; on top are piled cooked veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc.) with raisins. The sauce is sweet and full of different flavors. We were each given a napkin and a spoon, which never got used.

With his fingers, Bahar pushed a pile of couscous to his side, picked it up, rolled it into a big ball, and flicked it into his mouth with his thumb. We tried the same, immediately noticing how hot the food was and dropping most of our couscous ball on the table as we attempted to direct it to our mouths.

Eight of us sit around the couscous, eating plentifully, messily (well, the non-Moroccans anyway), and enjoying good company. The Moroccans sure know how to enjoy their couscous!


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