Comfort for Five Cents a Bowl

shmitt mar3 soup post.jpg

Photo by loriben13/FlickrCC


I love street food. And I love soup. And when soup is a street food--a 24-hour, always available, always warming and delicious street food--ay, there my heart is glad.

Morocco is one of these places. Harira, a slightly spicy tomato-based soup with a varying combination of chickpeas, lentils, pasta, and lamb, is available at all hours and in all parts of the country. It is used to break the fast at sundown in the month of Ramadan, and beloved as a breakfast, first course or late-night snack throughout the year. In Tangier and the northern part of country harira is joined by another local soup called bissara.

This creamy split pea soup is ladled out of huge cauldrons, spiced with cumin and drizzled with oil, then served with a hunk of bread and a bowl of black olives. What could be more divine? In the damp cold of winter men in earth-colored jellabas bend over their bissara, steam rising into their pointed hoods to warm their faces, comfort at 0.05€ a bowl.

To try making these soups yourself, check out one of the enticing recipes available on the Internet. Click here for harira, here for bissara.

Presented by

Maggie Schmitt is a freelance researcher and translator based in Madrid.  She is currently working on a book called The Gaza Kitchen with Laila El-Haddad. Learn more at gazakitchens.wordpress.com.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Health

Just In