Welcome to BrokeFoodies!
Hi. My name is Idriss (pronounced Ee-dris) and I have been living and learning in Montréal, Québec for almost a decade now. This blog was created to share my stories and passion for cuisine, as well as to show you guys that it takes almost nothing to create amazing food and even better memories. I want to help you become confident in your kitchen, and to show you that you can eat what you want to make you feel PHENOMENAL while feeling GUILT FREE
I work with my girlfriend, Lea, to bring our vision to life
I was born and raised in and around Morocco, which means that up until my Canadian reality-check, all I was exposed to was: the beach; the long, balmy summers of Marrakech; and splendid Moroccan dishes, cooked with love by my wonderful mother. I spent most of my time in Marrakech, exposed to many different dishes and styles of cuisine. All natural, all amazing.
At the tender age of 18, I left my homeland seeking a new adventure, and my curiosity brought me to Montréal. I came here as a student, where I studied computer science for a couple of years, and ended up graduating in economics and finance.
I have always loved food, and as a kid I was intrigued by the whole process and ritual behind it. Growing up in a very family-oriented country (where family meals are a must) my family would gather at least 2 to 3 times a day to sit, chat, laugh, and of course, break bread (literally).
When I came to Montréal, not only did I miss this, but I started out by “surviving” mostly on take out and fast food. I rapidly found myself craving whole and homemade meals. At the time, I didn’t know how to cook anything and I felt completely powerless. I missed my mother’s cooking. I couldn’t make my favourite meals. I didn’t know anyone who could make them for me, and consequently I had little control over my nutrition. Naturally, my weight went up (a lot). Even that I couldn’t do much about, and as my pant sized increased, my happiness decreased. It’s not that I wasn’t active, but you can do all the jogging and training you want, so long as you’re eating “bad food” (if you can call it food), it won’t change much – never mind that you won’t even feel like training after a big mac combo…
Luckily, after a year of studying abroad, my first summer vacation began and I went back to Morocco to visit my family for 3 whole months. During this time, I was determined to get my mom to teach as many of her awesome recipes as humanly possible. That is the only culinary school I’ve ever needed: home.
A SMIDGE ABOUT MOROCCO
I don’t know if you know this, but food is as prestigious and almost synonymous with importance as religion in Morocco. Every region, whether it’s the Rif, Sousse, the coast, or the Sahara, has derived a sub-cuisine of their own, and everyone gets together to share phenomenal food.
It’s pretty amazing that a country that is a quarter the size of Québec has this much diversity in its own cuisine, but it’s noteworthy to mention that moroccan cuisine (just like pretty much any other cuisine in the world) is not completely native to the land. You see, for a very long period of history, Morocco acted as a trading hub, which connected the middle east to Europe through the canal of Gibraltar. It is precisely that role which brought so much diversity to Morocco. As a result of that diversification, moroccan cuisine is a mix of flavours inspired by Mediterranean, Middle eastern, West African, and North African cuisines. In a way, it tastes very familiar to a lot of people (even those who have never had it), yet the flavour is still surprising. To me, it tastes like home.
ONCE BACK IN MONTRÉAL – HOW LEARNING TO COOK CHANGED MY LIFE
After I had learned the basics I was off to a start a great adventure into the world of food. Cooking redefined the meaning of leisure and of pleasure, and became a passion for me. I would even go as far to say that it redefined the meaning of freedom. I declared my independence from all the junk food that was forced on me as a person who couldn’t cook. I didn’t have to buy frozen pizza anymore, or go to a pizzeria every time I had a craving. I could make my own food, with the best ingredients available, save money, and get control over my waistline again!
I spent years thereafter video-chatting with my mom to learn more recipes and tricks, researching, and going to a heap of restaurants in and around Montréal. I became a foodie. And then I became a food blogger.
With my new found freedom, I tried new foods and tricks. I started getting healthier and healthier as I was cooking way more at home than eating out – and I started dropping weight. A lot of weight. I felt more energetic, I felt happier and more in control of my own life. So much changed. The cloud in front of my eyes lifted and I ”saw the light” (for lack of a better expression). I got interested in veganism, gardening, food documentaries… the works!
The Potential of Cooking
My Hopes for Our Growing Community
Cooking can free you from the obligation of consumption. By cooking, we take back our freedom from processed foods and manufacturers who decided for us that tasty food needs to be super sweet, fat, or salty. By submitting to that cultural phenomenon, we merely became passive consumers, prisoners to food addiction, symptoms of nutritional deficiencies, and ever growing waistlines. Rather than accepting that, learning to cook gives you the chance to turn your values into reality and vote with your dollar to shut the door on big corporations who are looking to turn every moment of our lives into an opportunity for consumption. You don’t need to be rich to eat like you are.
Cuisine is an amalgamation of history and culture. It’s through a negotiation with nature, that our ancestors from different backgrounds came up with divergent dishes. As soon as we, as individuals, decide to learn about a new dish, we are (in one way or another) embracing the culture and history behind that cuisine.
There is a story behind everything we do as humans, and through each of my blog posts you will learn more and more about me, and the history of cuisine. I only hope you will enjoy my stories, recipes, my tips and tricks, and that you will share yours with me!
– Have you ever been to culinary school?
No, I never went to culinary school, and I don’t intend to.
Why? Well, I have a great memory and am self-sufficient. I prefer learning from wonderful teachers, getting inspired by talented chefs, rather than from a rigid education system that may or may not add to my palate.
My love for food started as early as my first memory, my first birthday cake, and my first French fry, and I have the best teacher on speed-dial to show me the ropes: my mom.
(Also, to be honest, I’ve known people who went to culinary school here in Montréal and well… The way I see it is that culinary school takes out the fun of cooking – you have to be extremely organized and methodical, which can limit creativity and most importantly, the whimsical fun of it all. It’s not to say that talent chefs cannot arise from culinary school, rather that it is not the path I would choose for myself)
– Where do you draw your inspiration?
From everywhere. Inspiration lies in everything your eyes can see – restaurants, social media, friends and family, and nature itself.
Also, I love Jamie Oliver. My memory and my palate guide me to create new dishes or put a twist on your favorite classics. I draw my inspiration from people like you, and I hope to do the same for you
– Why did you start a food blog?
To share my passion with all who have an open mind and a love of food and health. I want to grow our community into an efficient one-stop-shop for nutritional information, the truth about food, freedom from corporate greed, and a how-to-change-your-life for the better platform. Obviously, the blog itself is a work in progress, as am I, and we hope you’ll standby as we bring our vision into reality
– How much weight exactly did you lose?
I lost a little over 35 lbs in 5 months by changing my lifestyle. I’m still getting stronger and healthier every day.
Weight loss is no longer an issue for me, and it doesn’t scare me anymore. Right now I’m trying to bulk up and am trying to get into the best shape of my life. Want to join me?
If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you – send us an e-mail at email@example.com – let us know we’re not alone in our search for a better life and healthier bod