MOROCCAN FOODS THAT ARE COMMONLY USED
A variety of cultures have reached into Moroccan kitchens. Spanish chickpeas, Arabian spices, Portuguese fish dishes (especially in the coastal city of Essaouira), and African and Senegalese spicy sauces all take their places with the ancient Berber dishes of couscous, tagine, bisteeya, and mechoui and make artful use of local barley and wheat flour for breads and pastries, dates, olives and almonds, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Grains and vegetables form the dietary staples: the larger the household the smaller the meat consumption. The commonest beverage is hot sweetened green mint tea sipped from small glasses. From the British the Moroccans learned “tea-dunking”, and the country was a French protectorate for so long (1912-1956) that Gallic touches abound, especially in upper-class homes. The ancient staple of harira (legume soup) served with harisa (peppery hot sauce), bread and dates remain the rural staples and the universal “simple meal”.