Before the New Center for Arts & Culture held its first Mimouna celebration in Boston five years ago, most Bostonians had never heard this slightly odd-sounding word. (Now it’s so popular that you can read all about it in last week’s Boston Globe!) Even harder for most to believe is that this North African tradition marking the end of Passover is one of the few traditions that has the potential to make peace in the Middle East by bringing Muslim and Jewish neighbors together around, what else, wheat!
This is one thing my Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston education did not touch on. As a carb/food lover, I was shocked when—in my late twenties—I discovered one of the best Jewish parties of the year. It’s a cultural exchange, a celebration of the end of Passover, a real party, and a tribute to the all-important wheat. In Israel you’ll find everyone out on the streets, passing from house to house as they eat, celebrate and dance. While you may not find quite that scene in Boston, next week you can celebrate Mimouna—a day after the actual end of Passover on April 23—with neighbors and wheat at a special cooking class and dinner hosted by the New Center NOW Cooking Circle, the Somerville Arts Council “Nibble” class series and Kitchensurfing.com chef Sean O’Brien.
Everyone laughs when I say that Sean O’Brien is, in fact, teaching us to cook a meal in honor of this holiday—he’s not actually Jewish or Muslim, but a chef with global interests who is embracing this celebration with us. At the end of the day, what better way to celebrate a holiday that’s all about cross-cultural celebration and food? Most important, Sean will teach us to make the traditional mafleta, as well as Moroccan eggplant salad, roasted whitefish with herbed couscous, and almond brown butter cake. In the true spirit of Mimouna, we’ll get our hands into the flour and eat as a community.
Want a taste of Mimouna? We’re cooking at Kitchen Inc. on Wednesday, April 23, from 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets are available here.