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Shenan Aylwin, Zohor (1999) The cuisine of Morocco Origins and ritual significance. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis focuses on the reception, evolution and onward transmission of the Moroccan culinary legacy. The examination of the subject is divided into two parts, the first of which relates to the cuisine as it is today, whilst the second part traces in depth its historical origins. The subject matter of the first part has been compiled from personal experience and fieldwork, supported by the accounts of XIXth century European travellers, including the ethnographic observations of colonial officials, however misguided and perverted these may have been. In addition to providing a description of the ingredients, utensils and preparatory techniques employed in this cuisine, an insight is given into its association with certain aspects of Moroccan life. In particular the relationship between food and religious and traditional festivals is examined, as is its pertinence to private ceremonies associated with all aspects of an individual's life from birth to death. In the second part, the examination of historical references illustrates the salient importance of food ceremonies in the story of the inhabitants of Morocco. Here the research has been directed towards tracing the history of dishes and identifying transformations undergone under different cultural influences. In the latter connection the influence of Islamic expansion is examined with reference to the introduction of new agricultural crops and products, (sugar, spices etc.), and also with reference to the thoughts of the physicians of the "Moorish Empire", as depicted in the early Islamic cookery books. The historical study of the annual program of food rituals shows how this was adjusted to the new religious setting in relation to the solar/lunar calendar altercation. This study is followed by a specific investigation into the significance of the names of certain dishes and the importance of their preparation, concluding that the "Amazigh" alias Berber tradition was preserved in a concealed form throughout history. This new dimension has been exploited in a retrocessive study of mythology through Roman, Phoenician, Greek and eventually Ancient Egyptian classical sources to conclude that culinary practices have acted as a repository for ancient Moroccan tradition.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

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