Tagine is the Moroccan ambassador for cooking and decoration
It consists of two parts, the base is a flat concave side with a slightly raised circular side, and the lid is a cone-shaped dome that is placed on the base during cooking. The lid is designed to push the evaporating broth to the bottom. The base is designed to be used as a serving dish when the lid is removed and is one of the most important historical Artwork of the Maghreb
The Tagine is made of a basic material, which is clay, but it needs many types of it in order to reach a perfect result without defects.
The manufacture of the tagine requires three types of clay: “Tadoga”, which is distinguished by its yellow colon and is important in the manufacture of the tagine, but it cannot be worked with alone because when it is exposed to heat, it cracks and breaks and can shrink in size, so it is supported by the second type called “quinoa.” Its colour ranges between yellow and red, as well as the third type called “Al-Hamri”. Tarbiat added that in the past, other types of clay were used, but they have now become extinct, and there are no longer any quarries that produce them, such as “Blue Tadouqa,” “White Tadouqa,” “Amalos,” and others.
Among the most important areas that have high-quality clay in Morocco is that found in the Atlas, Pullman, and Ouarzazate regions, but the city of Rabat, according to Tarbiat, has the finest types of clay, adding that the basis of the entire soil of the city is clay, starting from the Bab Zaer region up to the Souissi region. .
The first stage begins with the preparation of clay, the making of which differs between the bottom of the tagine and the lid, as the bottom needs the clay to be solid at a certain percentage in order to be able to withstand the heat, and it requires great physical strength to make it.
No matter how powerful the maker is, he cannot exceed the rate of making a hundred bottoms for the tagine per day, because this process requires great physical effort, while the lid requires that the clay dough be less solid so that the maker can easily determine its distinctive shape, after which the tagine takes its final shape and dries It is then called “biscuit” because it is fragile and crumbly in the form of a biscuit.
For the second stage, the tagine enters the oven in order to completely dry out the liquids and take its solid shape to withstand the heat of cooking later. This process lasts for three consecutive days, after which the tagine becomes ready for dyeing and decorating, and specialized makers are assigned to accomplish each task separately to be marketed after that.
The process of dyeing and decorating was not part of the tagine industry in its old fashion, except that at the beginning of the sixties of the last century, dyeing entered as a decoration to add lustre to the shape of the tagine, then the traditional maker excelled in decorating it with beautiful and multiple suits according to the style of each region of Morocco, as the shape of The decoration of the tagine of Sale, for example, is not similar to that of the tagine of Tangiers, Safi, Marrakesh, or other regions known for the manufacture of tagines.
In the early 1980s, doubts began to swirl about the extent to which the materials used to dye the tagine affected human health through the food it was promised, as the dye mainly consists of antimony, which contains a large percentage of lead, which, according to Australian research, can cause cancerous diseases if consumed. The Tagine has been around for 80 years, and all the craftsmen who received this information from their ancestors who have been working in the profession since that time said that the matter appeared after the Tagine began being exported abroad, as Australia, Canada and America stress that lead should not exceed a certain percentage so that it does not affect the health of citizens. He added Australian associations wrote to Moroccan officials about the matter after conducting appropriate analyses, and the officials in turn took the initiative to warn manufacturers against using antimony in dyeing the tagine.
At the beginning of 2001, all the craftsmen who owned tagine-making workshops were able to get rid of lead in their products. Officials conducted periodic analyses five times in a row of the product samples of all the craftsmen in Salé, and they were then provided with certificates guaranteeing the quality of the tagine they produced, in partnership with the organization International quality «ISO» guarantees craftsmen to market their product with confidence around the world.
And that the craftsmen were credited with achieving the current quality after what he described as attempts to undermine the quality of the Moroccan tagine, as they incurred great losses to rebuild their workshops because lead was present in every part of their work materials, which required them to exert physical efforts and significant material losses to move from the means of work. Old to new system Atwork
Despite the obstacles facing the tagine industry, its position in Moroccan cuisine has not been shaken, as the international quality certificate obtained by the craftsmen has increased confidence in foreign countries, as Belgium is the first importer of Moroccan Tagine, through Moroccan merchants who in turn export it to neighbouring European countries and American countries. However, the Moroccan Tagine took a new route to the Arabian Gulf, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait are among the countries most willing to import Moroccan tagine in large numbers, according to the same source.
The Moroccan tagine has become more than a cooking utensil, as it has occupied a new position as a decorative piece that adds to the authenticity of the home after improvements were made to it in decoration, adding a special splendour to it to give a special Moroccan character in the home. It now takes on bright colours instead of the traditional red shape, and beautiful trimmings with copper and silver wires, as well as using… Ceramic and agate in various colours.
The decoration process was not limited to the creativity of the Moroccan craftsman, as Moroccan women added their own touch to it after adopting the tagine as part of their home decor. She began to acquire the tagine in its original form and then become artistic in decorating it, each according to her taste, using different sizes of the tagine.
Whether the tagine is famous for being a delicious popular dish, or for its distinctive shape associated with Moroccan cuisine, or as a beautiful piece of decor in the home to evoke the authentic Moroccan heritage, in the end it plays the role of an ambassador for Morocco par excellence, ignoring with its originality everything that is modern.
Quelle/Source : Newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat
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