For years I dreamt of making my own khobz, a Moroccan bread I’d eaten nearly every day on my 2001 trip to Morocco. When I finally got around to it, it wasn’t hard to make, but the fact that it had haunted my palate for so long elevated it to near mythic proportions. And, of course, I realized it was best served with a hot bowl of harira, the flavorful Moroccan soup that I’d also discovered on my trip.
In Morocco many villages rely on a single bakery (or maybe two) to bake all of the bread for the village. Because they can’t afford their own oven, or don’t want to deal with that much heat in their house, locals prepare and mark their own dough and drop it off at the bakery in the morning, picking up their finished loaves later in the day.
While I bought my loaves at a local shop, they’d also purchased from the bakery just a few doors down, and, when asked, told me how the local baking system worked. If I’d never visited that market I might never have discovered khobz, or learned the secrets of harira, and how every family has its own recipe.
These were the formative moments in my life as a cook who fills his bags not with trinkets for shelves, but spices, simple ingredients, and delicacies that feed the soul.
In these stories I’ll describe things I’ve found in my travels, but more than that, I hope to inspire you to dig deeper and spread the food cultures and stories you find on your own trips.