This podcast featuring American doctoral candidate from the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University Anny Gaul and TALIM Resident Director John Davison was recorded in October 24, 2018.
The historical record suggests that during the early modern period, culinary cultures in Egypt and Morocco had far more in common than not. But in the nineteenth century, the way Egyptians and Moroccans ate began to transform. As a result, by the 1950s, the new urban middle classes were developing culinary styles that could be considered ‘national’ for the first time. Today, Egyptian and Moroccan food cultures have little in common.
Anny Gaul’s research uses ‘cuisine’ (understood as both a cooking style and a cooking space) as a new framework for understanding the emergence of modern national identities in North Africa. Using sources that include novels, memoirs, cookbooks, state archives, and ethnographic data, the project traces the history of North African food cultures from the colonial period through the early decades of political independence.
In this interview, Anny discusses what she learned about the cuisine of the city of Tetouan and her methodological strategies for studying the kitchen, which she describes as being “both everywhere and nowhere” in the archive.
Anny Gaul is a doctoral candidate in the department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. She holds an MA from Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and blogs at cookingwithgaul.com. Her research has been supported by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, and the Social Science Research Council. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter.
For recipes and more information on the dishes discussed in this interview see:
“Chicken Rafisa,” on Imik simik: Cooking with Gaul, September 17, 2012.
“Seven Centuries of Bastila,” on Imik simik: Cooking with Gaul, February 25, 2018.
Bennani-Smires, Latifa, La Cuisine marocaine (Casablanca: Editions Alpha, 1974)
Calderwood, Eric, Colonial Al-Andalus: Spain and the Making of Modern Moroccan Culture (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018)
Gaul, Anny, “Cooking “Civilized” Sauces in Egypt and Morocco,” Kitchening Modernity blog, January 23, 2018.
Khatib, Toumader, “L’art culinaire ou le savant mélange des couleurs, des senteurs et des saveurs,” in Tétouan: Capitale méditerranéenne, edited by M’hammad Benaboud, Tetouan: Publications de l’Association Tétouan Asmir.
al-Minuni, Muhammad, “Dūdat al-ḥarīr wa-ṣināʿāt ukhrā bi-Tiṭwān al-qarn XIX,” in Aʿmāl nadwat Tiṭwān qabl al-ḥimāya, 12-13-14, November 1992: 21-31.
Seremetakis, C. Nadia, ed., The Senses Still: Perception and Memory as Material Culture in Modernity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
Sutton, David E., “Food and the Senses,” Annual Review of Anthropology 39, no. 1 (September 23, 2010): 209–23, doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.104957.
Rahuni, Fatima, Fann al-ṭabkh al-Maghribī al-Tiṭwānī al-aṣīl, 5th ed. (Tetouan, Morocco: Matbaʿa al-Khalij al-ʿArabi, 2014);
Roden, Claudia, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, Revised edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)