This unique cookbook relates the story of the Pied Noir, or “Black Feet,” Sephardic Jews from the North African nation of Algeria. The cuisine of the Pied Noir reflects their storied history: expelled from Spain, and later forced to flee Algeria, their cooking was influenced by the nations they inhabited, as well as the trade routes that passed through these areas. Over the centuries, they collected recipes and flavors that came to form a unique and little-known culinary repertoire of dishes marked by Spanish and North African flavors blended with French culinary techniques.
The recipes in this fascinating book provide a window into the little-known Pied Noir cuisine, including such dishes as Couscous aux Haricots Blancs (Couscous with White Beans), turmeric-flavored Boeuf aux Oignons (Beef with Onions), and Mekroud (Date Fritters). These unique Sephardic recipes are accompanied by a history of the Pied Noir, and the story of the author’s family.
The origins of the Jewish population in Algeria can be traced to the tenth century BCE. Following the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition, the nation’s Jewish community received an influx of Jewish immigrants from Spain and other parts of Europe. This community was heavily influenced by French culture after Algeria became a French colony in 1830. In the late 1950s, many Pied Noir fled the instability and violence plaguing Algeria and immigrated to France and French-speaking Canada.