International Museum Day: 30 Objects – Moroccan Cooking

08 May 2017

For International Museum Day on 18 May our Head of Collections, Alice, has chosen her top 30 objects from Mount Stuart’s Collections which we’ll bring to you throughout the Month. Ranging from books, furniture, silver-work, paintings and documentation from hundreds of years of Stuart family life, this barely scratches the surface of our Collections so make sure to plan your visit and experience it for yourself!

The Fourth Marquess of Bute was a man of many interests and a collector responsible for large sections of the archive and paintings we care for at Mount Stuart. A widely travelled man, an early trip to Morocco at the age of eighteen got him hooked on the country, its people and culture. This interest would eventually lead to him becoming one of the largest foreign land owners in the country as well as owner of the 5 star El Minazah hotel in Tangiers.  Bute’s collecting bug also led to an interest in the country’s food and the unique system of passing recipes down through families through oral tradition. Determined to learn all he could he was invited to the home of a local friend Abderachman Menebbi to witness how certain dishes were prepared and served. The friends then decided to collaborate in the compiling and publishing a recipe book predominately for an English speaking audience.

The volume is more than simply a recipe book, it details the method of serving, eating and the Moroccan customs of dining at that time. One section details the common practice of setting a large plate of honey with a knob of butter in it on the table so diners could dip bread in it throughout the meal. It also outlines the restrictions of what can and can’t be consumed for religious reasons and anecdotes highlighting cultural differences such as the lack of individual plates or cutlery at meals.

Sadly, this was a project that Bute would never see completed as he died before the final edit was finished. The project was taken up by his two sons Lord David and Robert Crichton- Stuart and eighty-five copies were privately printed with this being the first of the run.#