how food can save Middle East conflicts

I swear I’m on to something with my combined interest in food and Middle East affairs!

This Ramadan, the hottest (and probably most miserable) one in several years, even the Moroccans and Algerians have found a way to put aside their differences…(at least until the meal is over).

Al-Arabiya (English version) posted this variety piece about Shmisha (great name!), a Moroccan cook who is quickly gaining popularity in Algeria. Morocco and Algeria have apparently been feuding a bit over rights to the Western Sahara region…(gosh, who wouldn’t want to fight over this?), but despite all of that, Shmisha (seriously, I might have to name my first child after her) has won the hearts and minds of Algerians, selling her recipes and even traveling to Algeria (gasp!). I’m curious about what her radio show sounds like. Cooking shows on TV I understand, and printing recipes in newspapers or magazines I understand, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a cooking radio show. Could be interesting? Half the fun is the visual element though, right?

I’m not sure if it’s a translation issue, but I was surprised by the last line: “Despite her huge success, Smisha visited Algeria for the first time in June and was impressed by the legendary welcome she received.”

despite her huge success? Is that insinuating that successful people aren’t supposed to appreciate warm welcomes? Or did they mean, despite that she’s Moroccan, she still received a “legendary welcome.” hmmm…

If any readers happen to be in Morocco or Algeria and come across a Shmisha recipe or cookbook, think of your favorite blogger! I’m sure it would make a great gift for any time of the year! (hint!)

(*Side note* – Does it actually make sense that Algeria and Morocco are arguing over a large piece of desert? It barely even borders Algeria! Break your fast and get over it!)

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of the great Arab/Middle Eastern leaders just sat down with some fantastic food and forgot about all of their troubles? Ah…

At the very least, it would solve all of my Middle East problems if the embassy cafeteria offered anything resembling Arab food. The closest thing we’re offered here is “Indian Bar,” which consists of various curries, bright coral-colored tandoori chicken, and large pieces of doughy “naan.” And, of course, celebrating the season, we also have dates a plenty.