Kaoutar, a baker at Russ + Daughters, moved from Morocco to New York City and started a new career making pastries and bread. In Morocco she was a teacher, and she described feeling “lost” when she first arrived, but also wanting to do something new. She loved baking, and now makes babka, rugalach, and hamantashen. She described “trying to make everything like Morocco in my home,” to pass on these cooking traditions, and Moroccan culture, to her son.
In Morocco, every Friday, Kaoutar would make couscous: “On Friday, if you go anywhere in Morocco, you will find couscous.” It’s a day for prayer and charity, and people often make extra couscous to bring to the mosque to share with others, and after prayers families get together for lunch. She described how she keeps that tradition in America--her Moroccan friends gather to eat couscous, but often on Saturdays or Sundays because of work schedules.
Her Friday night table now includes couscous and Moroccan m’smen alongside rugalach and black and white cookies.
One day she brought this couscous into work, and shared it with her coworkers from Mexico, who taught her how to griddle tortillas and assemble tacos. Now, her coworker often asks her “when are you going to bring couscous again?”