Breakfast, lunch and dinner all exist in Morocco (of course), but at slightly different times than we might experience in America. Often, however, there exists between lunch and dinner a magical meal called Kaskrut. When we first arrived in Morocco, kaskrut was described to us as a late afternoon snack. After a few weeks, we’ve discovered the fallacy of this definition. A mere snack it is not!
Kaskrut includes tea, but this is an easy assumption for most Moroccan meals. Accompanying the tea can be a variety of tasty treats including milwee, hoobz, homemade doughnut-things, all kinds of cookies, olives, olive oil, argan oil, butter, homemade squash jam (it sounds weird but tastes great), hot-milk-rice (something I was not looking forward to, but was delicious), mortadella slices, or laughing cow cheese wedges (that I like to call pocket cheese).
Many families/homes likely enjoy kaskrut every day, but our host family seems to largely serve it when company visits. Since hospitality rules here, and one really is expected to eat (a lot) when food is served, it’s probably very good for our waist lines that we don’t have kaskrut daily. If you visit someone’s home between about 4:00-8:00 pm hospitality seems to dictate that they serve some kind of kaskrut. It doesn’t need to be huge, even a stack of milwee, some olive oil and tea will suffice (at least for us it does!)
One day a few weeks ago our class went to visit one member who had stayed home sick. As it was around 7:00 pm, our teacher called ahead to the host family to give the, a heads up that our entourage of 5 would be dropping in. About ten minutes after our arrival, kaskrut was laid out on the table. It included most of the items that I listed as possibilities, above. Delicious and largely homemade.
The one item on the table that caught our attention and caused all jaws to drop, mouths to water, and eyes to bulge was the bowl of chunky wedges of cheese. There’s cheese here, but it’s not quite the same as the charming cheddar, gorgeous Gouda, melty Monterey jack, splendid Swiss (or name a type of cheese found in an American deli) that we already miss. So this bowl of cheese chunks offered us all the hopes of “real” cheese. One of the 5 of us, Pat (name changed for anonymity), grabbed a chunk and took a nice big bite. Pat’s face quickly ran the spectrum of emotion from anticipation to confusion to regret. It turns out we were all wrong in our expectation of cheese, it was a nice big bowl of chunks of butter. I was glad that Pat had beat me to it; this way I managed to avoid a mouthful of butter. To Pat’s credit a large chunk of butter did NOT get spit out on the table, but instead was dutifully swallowed. Thanks for taking one for the team, “Pat”!