My father, my mother and I traveled from Morocco to Canada. My father came from Goulmima in southern Morocco and my mother came from Mohamedia in northern Morocco. We speak Berber and Arabic (as well as
English). We came by plane to Canada. We came here because it was an adventure for us. We could come because Canada wanted immigrants and had a good procedure. Our first destination in Canada was the city of Edmonton, Alberta and we landed on October 18th, 1998.
Traditional Moroccan Foods
In our family tradition we eat a lot of couscous. What is couscous you may ask? It is a very small round north-African pasta. It is made from durum wheat. In couscous we do not put tomato sauce as in Italian pasta. Instead we put a sauce called marka. Marka is made out of beef or lamb, olive oil, vegetables such as carrots, turnips, zucchini and squash and spices such as ginger powder, black pepper and saffron. To make the couscous we use a special pot called a keskas or couscousier in French. We use tablespoons to eat the couscous. We usually make couscous in Morocco each Friday for lunch because on that day Muslims go to the mosque to pray at noon. When they finish praying they go home to eat couscous and they invite friends or family.
For special occasions like weddings and baby showers we make pastilla. Pastilla is made with filo pastry, chicken, eggs, roasted almonds, sugar and cinnamon. All the ingredients are formed into a layer and wrapped in the filo pastry.
Tea is a traditional drink. Our family drinks tea every day. We usually drink tea in the morning, after lunch and after dinner. In our family we drink green tea. We also add mint to make a more tasty flavour. This tea is called atay. Usually we eat Moroccan cookies with tea at snack time. Some of the Moroccan cookies are called semolina cookies and they are made out of coconut and lemon zest and there is another kind of cookie called corne de gazelle made out of almond pastry.
A traditional Moroccan breakfast is called misimen. Misimen is a kind of baked pita bread. As toppings we put honey and butter – but I put peanut butter as my favourite topping! In misimen we sometimes put vegetables like green onions and carrots. Sometimes we get really creative and put meat too, like as if it would be a big sandwich. Misimen is square-shaped. Occasionally we eat it at lunch or dinner time.
Interview: Assia Mourid, Spring 2008
Photograph: Property of Amrani Family