Articles & Recipes
  The Food of North Africa

lthough North Africa is a single topographic unit, it is an area rich in geographic, political, social, economic, and cultural diversity. The foods are as diverse as the land, its people, and its history.

      The roots of North African cuisine go back over 2000 years and are attributed originally to the Berbers, a Christian nomadic people. By the seventh century A.D., the nomadic Bedouin Arabs began placing their stamp on the region's culinary traditions.

Along the Southern Mediterranean

      Spanning the territory along the southern Mediterranean Sea, the region encompasses the nations of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. Influenced by centuries of traders, travelers, invading armies, migrations and immigrations, each group has left its own special mark.

      The Phoenicians of the first century brought dried sausage; the Carthaginians introduced wheat and its by product, semolina. The Berbers adapted this into couscous -- a main dietary staple. With the Arabs of the seventh and eighth centuries came a wide variety of spices: saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Attributed to the Spanish Moors are the highly flavorful Mediterranean products, olives and olive oil. The Ottoman Turks contributed the culinary richness of sweet pastries. The New World has also left its impact through the export of tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and chiles.

Unique Herbs & Spices

      Even though all the Mediterranean countries have much in common, each has its unique herbs and spices, ingredients and cooking styles: Moroccans enjoy full-bodied flavors, Tunisians savor fiery dishes. Various versions of the same dish are found, sometimes with a different name or a slight change in ingredients.

The Elegant Chef
The Food of North Africa
  Algerian Fish Soup
  Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew
  Egyptian Red Snapper
  Moroccan Chicken with Prunes

Writings on Food
Articles & Recipes: An Introduction
The Versatile Orange
Tapas: A Spanish Tradition
Rustic French Home Cooking
Persian Cooking
Middle Eastern Cuisines
The Food of North Africa
Home: Introducing The Elegant Chef
To the Top