the recipe as colonial archive: qamama chicken from a frenchwoman in fes

Today I was thrilled to publish my first post for tajine, an offshoot of the fabulous Ottoman History Podcast blog. It’s the first of a series in which I’ll be cooking my way through North Africa’s first “modern” cookbooks in an attempt to understand what their (mostly pied noir) authors were thinking as they set about codifying the cuisines of the colonial subjects in their midst. Check out the blog and like them on Facebook––and stay tuned for more posts like this one!

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“The time has come to fix the tradition of cooking in Fez before it becomes too Europeanised,” begins Zette Guinaudeau’s classic book Fes Vu Par Sa Cuisine. Her paean to the cuisine of Fes was published in 1958 following decades of research that she conducted, she tells us, “by smell, by touch, and by taste, during more than twenty years among both the rich and the poor families of Fez.”

Keep reading for the recipe and more than a little stoveside commentary.

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