We truly received a lesson in Moroccan history at this dinner.
Hosted by Herb Frazier and Adrienne Troy Frazier in North Charleston, Fatima Akel, with assistance of her husband, prepared a fantastic four course Moroccan dinner. Our food guru of the evening, Fatima shared how couscous was originally eaten by poor people and has evolved into the much-loved and popular food it is today. Her husband, placed the couscous on the table dressed in the long flowing Moroccan garment, the djellaba, along with the traditional leather slipper, the belgha. Quite fun and set the tone for our evening. Before dessert, Fatima gave us a lesson in how to prepare Moroccan mint tea, which was a delicious accompaniment to the chlada jaada bel lechin ou mazhar, which is fresh shredded carrot and orange salad marinated in orange juice, orange blossom water, and cinnamon.
While Transformation Table dinners are informal, there are a few core values that we like to bring to the table:
Come with an open heart; be respectful of the diversity of opinions around the table; allow guests to express their opinions without interruption; practice respectful listening; be non-judgmental of yourself and others.
Dr. Khan brought us a book about Islam, and Marcus Amaker, our poet Laureate, gave a book of his poetry. Thetyka talked about how important it is for her to have friends of different backgrounds. I discovered that Marcus and I are both military brats which had a profound impact on how we view the world. We had a conservative at the table, and while everyone may not have agreed with everything said, she had the opportunity to share her thoughts. Important and much needed in these turbulent and divisive times.
Our Hosts: Herb & Adrienne
“Transformation Table provides an intimate venue for the celebration of a community that often feels far too distant and alien in the Lowcountry. To be invited to affirm our common values, different traditions, and experiences over food that is prepared by gracious and kind hands is a gift of renewal.
We are free to explore and come alive again through new smells, tastes, sights, sounds and healing human interactions.
We have the opportunity to deepen the ways in which we know each other if we are fully open. Transformation Table promotes a sense of community and we deserve this more than ever right now.”
Our Chef: Fatima Akel
“My name is Fatima Akel. I was born and raised in Belgium. My parents are Moroccan, and they raised and taught us everything about their culture.
Moroccan cuisine is a mix of different spices, colors, and textures. One of my favorite dishes is the couscous! the base is the semolina, then you can add vegetables, meat, etc… The couscous is a dish that need a lot of people, not to make it but to eat it! it is hard to make a couscous for one or two people.
Since I moved from Belgium to Charleston I had never made a couscous, so when I met Tina and she told me about Transformation Table, I thought, what a great opportunity to make that dish that I love so much. The experience was amazing and to cook Moroccan cuisine for a Transformation Table dinner was an honor.
Some of the guest knew about Morocco, some discovered it. But at the end we all shared the same things, open minds, respect for peoples with different cultures and the love of good food. Thank you Tina for the opportunity.”