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African ground beef fiesta

Aidan’s fourth grade class is wrapping up their Africa unit with a feast this Friday. Each child is supposed to bring a food prepared from an African recipe. She searched recipe websites, using “African food” as her guideline. After going back and fourth between several possibilities, she settled on beef-stuffed pastry rolls traditionally served when Ramadan is over.

My job, aside from cooking enough for 60 kids, their parents, and a few teachers, was to RSVP with who would attend and what we would be providing. I glanced at the printed recipe to see what it was called and saw these words: Algerian. Hamburger. Holiday. So I wrote “Algerian Hamburger Holiday” and sent the paper to school in Aidan’s backpack.

Later in the morning, I glanced at the recipe to see what I’d need to put on the grocery list. That is when I noticed the actual name of the food: Bourek. Not “Algerian Hamburger Holiday.” Those three words were the categories from the recipe site. Her teacher will probably think we got the recipe off the inside of a Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup label or from a cookbook published in 1964.

I should have asked the brilliant and gifted edj at Planet Nomad for assistance and inspiration. She lives in Mauritania, “where the sands of the Sahara and the waters of the Atlantic meet.” Mauritania borders Algeria. She writes about local foods and recipes quite often—with sharp detail and great wit.

In her travels, she’s never been on a Hamburger Holiday. A Goat-head Bonanza? Yes.

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