Age-old traditional Moroccan pastry meets new health concern

By Kayla Dwyer

For more than 65 years, the Ougaamou family has kept tradition alive in the 17th century walled medina, in Rabat, Morocco’s capital — but they are one of very few to do so. From a hole-in-the-wall stand they sell sfenj, traditional Moroccan donuts whose tough and greasy exterior conceals a steaming, flaky inside.

“Sfenj? Yes, good, very good — especially with tea, it’s wonderful,” said Youness Elfaleh, 22, whose eyes widen at the thought of the Moroccan oil-fried doughnut. “But I can only eat it one or two times a month.”

This traditional treat may be on its way out of favor even in sweet-loving Morocco.

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Photo of the Day: October 16, 2015

“You felt weird vibrations between you and the other person,” said Bouchra Zidaoui, 30, pictured above left. “We don’t usually look at each other’s eyes.”

But Zidaoui, of Rabat, did just that — for one uninterrupted minute with 19-year-old Basma Boujendar, right, on the grass outside the Comedy Cafe off Mohamed V Avenue in the center of Rabat, Morocco’s capital.

Nearly a hundred people came at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 to watch and pair up in Rabat’s local version of what’s being called “the world’s biggest eye contact experiment” by The Liberators International, a social movement emphasizing connections with humanity through public participatory events.

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Moroccan butcher sees sales spike for sacred Muslim holiday

By Rob Dozier

RABAT, Morocco — For more than 30 years, Abdeni Mdegdeg has sold meat year-round near the old walled medina of Morocco’s capital city. Now comes the time of year when his services are in the highest demand: the important Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha, or the “Feast of the Sacrifice.”

“Working as a butcher is a popular profession in Morocco,” Mdegdeg said. “And, it’s a sacred one.”

Especially on Thursday, the day of Eid throughout the Muslim world, when people will partake in tradition of sacrificing sheep or other livestock.

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