The Echoes of Fes pt. 2 by Noah Taxis

by tuftsigl
Aug 04

I am a relatively conscious consumer, and this extends to my dietary choices. Most of the time, through a basic regard for the value of animal life, I choose to be vegetarian. But when I travel, in order to adequately experience the culture in which I find myself, I usually opt to indulge in eating meat (assuming this is part of the culture). Morocco was no exception. And I think that perhaps this is why the culinary component of the trip was so especially enticing. Not only were foods completely new, but the nutritional class in which they laid was fresh to my tastebuds and to my stomach acids ­­ meat quite literally was “foreign”. So, dishes like the classic Moroccan ‘tageen’ both were delicious and felt appreciably new. Tangia, a dish essentially composed of slow cooked meat, was certainly something I wouldn’t have been able to try abiding by my traditional or baseline dietary approach. Moroccan cous cous, too, served from our host family in Fes, had scrumptious chicken which I would otherwise have had to impolitely decline (and simply miss out on the opportunity to enjoy).

This isn’t to say that only meat dishes hold cultural relevance in Morocco, or that they are the only ones which impacted me. Jus d’avocat has since become a main staple in my breakfast diet, composed of milk, avocado and banana blended together at room temperature. While speaking of breakfast, msemen bi fromage wa 3asl is not something I am able to so easily reproduce, but it is a staple of the breakfast diet in Morocco and is also completely vegetarian.

Aside from the cultural dishes, I also found myself simply exploring the available meat to create my own newfound experiences. In Cafe Clock in Fes, for example, a Camel Burger is offered on the menu, essentially strictly for tourists (as Moroccans don’t eat camel). Thanks to a simple disregard for my traditional tendencies, I indulged (along with Obaid, as camel is also apparently halal).

I don’t know that such abandon for one’s ethics is necessary when traveling, but I’ve found it to be remarkably helpful in ‘losing myself’, as Pico Iyer suggests the basic function of travel to be. And perhaps in the future, who knows, such abandon will lead to encounters with new aspects of myself which formerly laid dormant (like appreciation for Moroccan cuisine and a hankering for camel flesh)! 


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