Traditionally eaten on Friday before prayer, couscous is as Moroccan as food can get. Couscous is slightly difficult to make so I won’t go into detail in how it is made (since I don’t really know). The ingredients used are semolina (some sort of wheat), meat or chicken, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and chick peas.
There is an ongoing debate in Morocco on who’s mom can cook the best couscous.
As a newcomer to Moroccan culture, experiencing couscous was an enlightening experience. I will explain below.
Like all spiritual adventures, eating couscous begins with uncertainty: Chicken or beef? Potatoes? Vegetable sauce? Yes. To all of them.
With so many ingredients and possible combinations, I pray that I make the right decision.
I find a quiet place to sit, recite my prayers, and look at the dish in front of me. Only God knows how many calories I am about to consume. I estimate over 2,000 but I could be wrong.
Will I finish all of this? Am I capable of overcoming this apparently insurmountable, yet delicious challenge? Only time will tell. I grab my fork like a warrior grabs his sword and I begin.
As my fork touches the palate of my tongue– all in the world is right. My stomach, heart and Soul smile. The potatoes that melt in your mouth. The meat that breaks apart as soon as your fork touches it. Perfection.
I go for a second bite– just as potent as the first. From what I have gathered from my Moroccan friends, the only reason a Moroccan cannot like couscous is if they had too much of it as children. Like all spiritual adventures, pacing is key.
I look at the plate in front of me, feeling slightly used and defeated but also satisfied. For now, I can only finish about two-thirds of it. Yet, with patience and dedication, I know I will be able to finish an entire plate by the end of the semester.
Eating couscous is like taking a sleeping pill. The only dessert after this is sleep. My eyes become heavy. It is harder to stand straight. Every fiber in my body shuts down. My body is demanding rest.
I make my way to my dorm room and fall into a deep, profound sleep.