A culinary heritage to study and value

For several decades, Moroccan cuisine has fascinated connoisseurs who have been able to discover the richness of the landscapes and the diversity that has marked the history of the kingdom. Les Marocains, as they are accustomed to that of their cuisine, is in high esteem internationally, not for most steps digested a ranking (which circulates on social networks for a few days) in which national cuisine is revealed on the 31st. place.

“Moroccan cuisine is well positioned among the best in the world and this ranking is, in my opinion, largely questionable since it is based on no solid and even less scientific criteria,” says Pr Lahlou Abdelati, anthropologist at the National Institute of Archaeological and Heritage Sciences (INSAP).

Contacted by us, Fatéma Hal, a writer, leader and also a trained anthropologist, also agrees with this point of view without departing from a certain sense of nuance: “I do not agree with this classification. That being said, I don’t think it should stop us from questioning ourselves about ways to better value our culinary heritage. ”

Representativeness of the kitchen

The infographic that circulates to illustrate the ranking (see below) is attributed to “Taste Atlas”, a platform that classifies and studies the traditional dishes of the world in is based on the experience of other contributors. The ranking methodology therefore follows from a rather random and participatory approach which, at best, does not do justice to Moroccan gastronomy.

“It’s unfair what is happening, Moroccan cuisine is one of the most extraordinary in the world. Even Moroccans still have things to discover. The strength, however, is that tourists and people who have to judge our gastronomy after having to handle restaurants. It can be said that the real Moroccan cuisine is in the houses, or, the judges in France, for example, do not want to judge a cuisine at home, but in restaurants. And frankly, what would you find if you compare the number of excellent Moroccan restaurants in a city like Casablanca with the name of excellent French restaurants in a city like Paris? Fatema Hal wonders.

Deep work

“Despite its authenticity and diversity, it must keep its spirit in the big cities, Moroccan cuisine has become industrialized. In this context, it is sometimes presented that Moroccan cuisine does not honor our true culinary heritage, ”confirms Prof. Lahlou Abdelati.

Seen from this perspective, Moroccan gastronomic art, though so rich, is clearly underrepresented. “I don’t think we should stigmatize restaurateurs in Morocco either, since the real problem is bigger. If you don’t have real culinary arts schools to train good cooks, how do you want a restaurateur to make you a good cook? “, Emphasizes Fatéma Hal, who points to the need to put in place a real dynamic of reflection and multidisciplinary work to do justice to Moroccan cuisine. “Again, it will have to involve people who have the legitimacy and humility needed to work in Moroccan cuisine and start a real approach to coding,” said the author of the Grand Livre de la cuisine marocaine.

A momentum to resume

“I agree with Ms. Hal and confirm the urgency of carrying out methodical and in-depth work on Moroccan cuisine to comprehensively record its values, standards and diversity,” said Pr Lahlou.

In order to keep working well, the anthropologist must take into account the various parties involved, they must often be involved in this effort to save the collective heritage. “I think that the more specific ministry of culture should pilot studies to establish a comprehensive picture of Moroccan cuisines. Currently, part of the cuisine of the Kingdom is represented through the “Mediterranean diet” but it remains a fraction of the Moroccan culinary art that is much larger. Work has begun on setting up a dossier on the whole of Moroccan culinary art, but this momentum is not yet clear. I think it is high time to reactivate this dynamic to safeguard the authenticity of our culinary arts by inscribing them as an intangible heritage of UNESCO, ”concludes Pr Lahlou.


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