"Kouli Kouli" means "eat, eat" in colloquial Moroccan Arabic. It's a phrase that becomes familiar when spending time with locals and families. Every time we were sitting around the table, my host mother would encourage me to eat, saying "kouli, kouli." It comes from a place of caring, making sure I had eaten enough. It's from this mentality that this blog's title is inspired. Food is so important - for survival - but for those of us lucky enough to not worry about that, for enjoyment.
Food writer M.F.K. Fisher puts it this way in her book The Art of Eating:
“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security
and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot
straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I
write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it,
and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth
and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one."
I can relate to that because the dinner table was always the best place to take refuge after a hard day, talking to and receiving support from my family. Moving around so much has had the most wonderful benefit of making me inseparable from my family...they were the only familiar thing around in a new country, new city, new school; and sitting together, enjoying food was, and still is, my favorite part of the day. And now that we are scattered around the world, cooking recipes from my childhood, adapting and creating others is my comfort place.
Now, I live in Brussels - an international city at the heart of Europe. European policies are imagined and created here - which also means it gets all the criticisms for when something goes wrong. I could go on and on about how unfair this is and about how much of a miracle the European idea is - peace, stability - in a place that spent centuries fighting over borders and power, but obviously, there is still work to do. This is where my job comes in. I currently work for European Movement International, a platform of civil society organisations that come together to fight for "more Europe," in whatever form that takes. And in my spare time, I cook. I experiment with ingredients, recipes and techniques; I take ideas from the people I know from all over the world and I cook for my friends.