Kitchens, a form of material culture, often determine the shape of the cuisine. By the limitations imposed by the tools, the food cooked reflects the process. A case of the medium is the message?**
In the kitchens [of Morocco] there was a great assortment of wood dishes, like low corn measures, scrubbed white, as in Switzerland ; rows of round pots, in which the fires are made, called nafe ; and kuskoussoo [couscous] dishes of pottery called Keskas, the covers in thick close basket-work, ornamented with colours. Every place, thing, corner, was most perfectly sweet and clean. On entering the store rooms it seemed as if we had penetrated into a chamber at Pompeii. (The whole establishment recalled Pompeii.) Jars of the shape and dimensions of amphorae, only transversed at the point, stood in rows containing, not, indeed, Falernian wine, but kuskoussoo [couscous], pease, butter, rice, and even fresh meat. After it is packed, butter is kneaded hard into the orifice, and water is poured over it. Homer says, that in Lybia neither prince nor peasant wants for food, and this was confirmed by the large scale on which the arrangements were here made to meet the demands of hospitality. One of the courtyards, with an adjoining kitchen and store, was appropriated to cooking food, to be sent out to friends and strangers. (From: The Pillars of Hercules, Or, A Narrative of Travels in Spain and Morocco in 1848, by David Urquhart (1850)
In traditional Moroccan kitchens, the common denominator is the conical tagine cooker.
**For the next few weeks, I am going to be on a “working vacation,” so my posts will be somewhat more abbreviated. I will still provide you with something substantial to chew on, though!