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A Moroccan Cooking Class

April 6, 2011

A little while back, I was reading our Lonely Planet book and came across an entry about a cooking class in Marrakech and thought that might be a fun thing to do.  Sure enough, while walking through the medina to get to our hotel, we passed right by a place with a sign in front advertising a cooking class!  So after going in and further inquiring about it we decided it sounded pretty great and signed up.

Buying ingredients in the souq

Our instructors were an Australian woman named Edwina who owned the place, and a Moroccan man named Mohammed, who worked with her.  Not only did we learn how to cook, and eventually eat, local dishes, but the class also included a trip to the spice market and food souk to buy all of the supplies we needed. 

At the spice market we were welcomed with open arms and immediately began to learn about a ton of different spices and products.  They also provided some great tea made by the owner of the shop.  The owner, who was about our age, had been in the spice business for several years and his dad bought the shop for him.  Edwina informed us that he was set for life and had even more job security than a Moroccan that graduated from a university – pretty crazy stuff.  They also told us about how a lot of the people selling spices have fake items to rip off the tourists.  One such example is taking wax and covering it with a sweet smelling coating.  This method leads people to think they are buying a nice bar of soap or bar perfume that is until they get through the outer coating.

Next up we had to purchase all of the large ingredients for the big day of cooking, but before we went to the market to buy all of the fruits, vegetables, eggs and fish, we had a little lesson in Arabic.  Edwina had us write down everything we needed to purchase and Mohammed then proceeded to teach us how to properly pronounce everything.  We had a quick practice session and then headed off.  Upon arrival we had to order everything and took turns buying things in the different stalls.  It was a great experience and really enhanced our day making it feel even more personable! 

As soon as we got back, we got started cooking, and we cooked a ton, making 12 dishes in all!  Here was our full menu:

Part of the meal ready to be consumed

Couscous
Lemon chicken tagine
Berber omelet – both of our favorite!
Tomato jam
Iced cucumber salad
Moroccan salad
Potato salad
Sardines
Eggplants
Meringues
Custard
Tea

I was very proud of Steven for his cooking skills!  He is normally in charge of the salads at home and then drying dishes.  I don’t think he has cooked that much in his life but he did a great job, especially with peeling and chopping.

Moroccan community oven baker

One cool thing that we got to do was go to the community oven to cook the sardines and eggplants.  Every neighborhood in Morocco has a community oven where people take their bread, or whatever needs to be baked, and can leave it there and go back and get it once it’s ready.  The little old man was really cute and it is a neat thing to see since it is a point for neighbors to come together and has NO tourists.

Eventually, after about 5 hours of cooking, we got to have our feast!  You probably guessed it but everything we made was good!  Naturally we made so much food that we could not possible finish it but the cats loved to sneak bites whenever they could.  After our lunch, we went up to the roof where there were several couches, chairs, and another full-sized kitchen.  For at least another hour we sat up there and enjoyed dessert while hearing more about traditions and life in Morocco from our hosts.

It was a great day and a ton of fun getting to cook together.  Plus, now we can make Moroccan food for all of you when we get home!

Jen

With our culinary instructors

Looking for some good leftovers - very sneaky

Pouring the tea - the height is tradition and helps to aerate

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Traner permalink
    April 11, 2011 09:04

    Wow, the cooking class in Marakesh sounds great!!
    When I set Tay up to go to China, I also set her up for a chinese cooking class in Southern China. Like yours, it was run by two Australian women along with some Chinese. You two might be able to find these all over the world!!

    I only went to Tangiers which was a mistake. Wish I had gotten out of that town quickly and made it to Fez. How far away was Fez from Tangiers?

    I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about Turkey. The jewels and blue and whites at the Istiqlal Palace are amazing. Be sure to look for Pension Violette and Eric.

    Keep the adventure coming – I’m lovin it!

    Ciao,

    UJ

  2. Morgan permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:20

    EWW CATS!!!! Keep them away from your food!!!

    That is SUCH a cool thing y’all got to do. I love that idea.

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  1. Country #6: Morocco « The Smith Trip

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