A blog by the staff and participants of Al-Bustan, which is dedicated to teaching and presenting Arab culture through the arts and language. This provides a forum for us to regularly share the happenings and reflections on all things Al-Bustan-related.
On July 11, campers and staffers were delighted to receive a visit from the chefs of Argana Restaurant in Landsdowne. It was an excellent opportunity for campers to literally taste this year's camp themes.
The chefs from Argana came on the recommendation of our Arabic teacher, Brahim El Gabli. Brahim, a native Moroccan, declared Argana one of the few restaurants in the Philadelphia area where he could "really savor" the authentic cuisine of his home country.
On Wednesday, when campers packed into the drama room to see (and taste) examples of Moroccan cuisine. The day featured harira - a spiced soup made with tomatoes, chickpeas, and vermicelli - and what may be Morocco's most famous dish: couscous - a fluffy dish made with semolina and steamed vegetables. The chefs brought in samples of ingredients they use to prepare the dishes and described the time-honored processes to produce such delicious dishes. Ingredients were introduced in Arabic and English, allowing staff and campers another opportunity to practice their language skills.
When the presentation was complete, the moment arrived that all the campers had been waiting for. The large pots emitting enticing aromas from the back of the room were brought to the front, and children and staff alike were invited to sample the harira and couscous. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, as children not generally inclined to eating vegetables cleaned their bowls, asking for seconds and thirds. Our guests made sure no one went away hungry, and everyone enjoyed getting a taste of what Morocco and Argana Restaurant had to offer.