Monthly Archives: June 2012

Anyone for Tagine?

Vegetable Tagine, lentil salad and bread at Bab Bou Jeloud, Fes

James and I just got back from Morocco where we were travelling for 2 weeks from Fes to Marrakesh (through Ifrane, Azrou, Midelt, Er-Rachidia, Erfoud, Merzouga, Todra Gorge and Essouira).  Before going I was a little worried we would have a hard time getting vegetarian food, or encounter the awkward scenario of trying to explain in a foreign language that vegetarian really does mean ‘no chicken’.

However this was simply not the case, it was actually really easy to be vegetarian in Morocco, even in fairly small towns. We had a few dishes that tasted like they were likely cooked in meat broth, which wasn’t a nice surprise, but it was always really easy to find a menu with at least a couple of veggie options on- including tagine, couscous, pasta and pizza.

I thought I’d detail some of the places we ate in the nature of food tourism or for anyone looking for places to go:

We recommend

Le Kasbah, Fes

This place was right by Bab Bou Jeloud and served up some really tasty salad, veggie tagine with lemon peel and olives and couscous for a reasonable price, the veggie tagine tasted pretty “savoury” so for purists, I’d stick with the couscous!

James+FOOD

Riad Laayoun, Fes

We stayed at Riad Laayoun and it was truly excellent, the accommodation was unique and the meal there was very good, if a little more pricey than the medina, the top ups of mint tea and cookies during our stay were really nice too.

Ksar Sania, Merzouga

There were some things that weren’t so good about staying at Ksar Sania, like the crabby colonial french owner, the overpricing and the constant subtle pressure to buy excursions or extras (go for camels, avoid all lifts or excursions elsewhere), but the food was very good indeed.

Berber Omelette, with tomatoes and peppers at Ksar Sania

Auberge Le-Festival, Todra Gorge

Excellent people, excellent food in an amazing setting, this place rescued our diminishing faith in morocco being a nice place- what more can I say? It was GORGEous (get it, ‘cos it’s in a blummin massive gorge).

A candlelight meal for two! Enjoying a salad washed in bottled water (phew!)

Vegetable Moussaka- Maroc style!

Earth Cafe, Marrakesh

We ate twice at this vegetarian and vegan restaurant hidden in the souk,  just away from the central square. The lentil burger (despite sounding dull) was actually the best dish of the 2 nights we ate there.

Spring rolls and Lentil Burger

Spinach and Goats cheese parcel and lentil burger

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Big Food at Work

Image Credit: Original image by Todd Hryckowian at flickr.com, with enhancements by Lizzy Parisotto, PLoS.

It’s rare that my interest in (/slight obsession with) food features in my workday- other than at lunchtime that is!

However,  PLoS Medicine (the medical journal I work for) has published a series on “Big Food” corporations- so my work and my interest in food industries have happily collided this week.

The PLoS Med series describes Big Food as “the multinational food and beverage industry with huge and concentrated market power” and explains why this market power needs to explored, especially “in the health arena” (as bloggers such as Yoni Freedhoff and Travis Saunders show).

Utilizing two well known guest editors, Marion Nestle (of Supersize Me, foodpolitics.com, and ‘What to Eat’) and David Stuckler (author of ‘Sick Societies’), the series jumps in with both feet in its first weeks presenting key articles from Stuckler, Nestle, Rajeev Patel and Lori Dorfman and is accompanied by an Editorial from the PLoS Medicine Editors, with Marion and David.

The series makes for excellent reading (whether or not you’re a clinician), one of the most powerful statements I’ve taken away is the straightforward introduction to Stuckler and Nestle’s piece “Big Food, Food Systems and Global Health” (text bolded by myself):

“let’s begin…with a blunt conclusion: Global food systems are not meeting the world’s dietary needs [1]. About one billion people are hungry, while two billion people are overweight [2]. India, for example, is experiencing rises in both: since 1995 an additional 65 million people are malnourished, and one in five adults is now overweight [3],[4]. This coexistence of food insecurity and obesity may seem like a paradox [5], but over- and undernutrition reflect two facets of malnutrition [6]. Underlying both is a common factor: food systems are not driven to deliver optimal human diets but to maximize profits. For people living in poverty, this means either exclusion from development (and consequent food insecurity) or eating low-cost, highly processed foods lacking in nutrition and rich in sugar, salt, and saturated fats (and consequent overweight and obesity).”

I’ll be reading the series with pleasure as it moves along- and the best thing is I can get away with reading it at work 😛

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