To what extent do Halal and kosher affect the food in North Africa?

Islam and Judaism not only produce food, but also create culture and community with their food.

Although it may seem that each religion is very different, however, Islam and Judaism are actually very alike. Both in the Torah and the Quran they describe the restriction of eating swine (World Atlas). Both of the religions were expelled from Spain in the 1300s. By the mid-1400s over a million Jewish people and Muslims were expelled from Spain or forced to convert to Catholicism (World Atlas).  

Halal has a large impact on food because it restricts people from consuming pork, alcohol, gelatin, etc. In halal you can eat lamb, and beef, but it should be slaughtered in the presence of a Muslim who must say “Bismillah Ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”, which means “in the name of Allah” (“What Is Halal”). Some Muslims think that animals and birds killed by non-Muslims can be eaten and will buy meat from any supermarkets or butchers, but others who are strictly following halal will only buy meat from a halal butcher (“What Is Halal”).

Halal doesn’t only restrict meat, but also some cakes, biscuits, cookies, shellfish, and ice-cream containing animal-based products such as lard, gelatin or enzymes (“What Is Halal”). Some Islamic North African dishes are Lamb meatballs in sour cherry sauce (kabab karaz), a “tajine” dish is a slow-cooked stew in Morocco, and the Tunisian version of “tajine” which is a baked omelette (“African Cuisine”).

Kosher has an impact by restricting pork, shellfish, and other meats and produce. The majority of Jewish people in North Africa are Mizrahi, and Sephardi and live in the Maghreb of North Africa (World Atlas). Judaism in North Africa is mostly in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. Most of Judaism has kosher restrictions such as, not eating pork (anything with cloven hooves), beef, dairy, shellfish, or anything that chews a cud (Eliza Moorhead). The Jewish people in North Africa after the expulsion in Spain ate spicy, aromatic foods such as, Moroccan Fish and Crispy Rice Cake with Saffron Crust , and a Shabbat Recipe: Dafina, Slow-Cooked Moroccan Stew.

They both found a new comforting home in Africa, (North Africa in this case). Food creates culture, social engagement, and community. Food is much more than just what it looks like on the outside it can also have a history in which communities have created a culture. In whatever religion or culture you see, they will all have certain foods that represent their backgrounds.

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“What Is Halal Food?” ABC News, 13 Mar. 2015, Accessed 29 Mar. 2019.

World Atlas. Accessed 5 Apr. 2019.