Could a plate of couscous warm up relations between wary North African nations? A drive to win coveted UNESCO status for the dish could at least get them talking around the same table.
The hearty meal itself however is a bone of contention between countries that haven’t always got along.
Who makes it the best? And given that the fluffy semolina can be topped with everything from fish in Tunisia to camel meat in Libya, what truly makes a couscous a couscous?
As with the “hummus wars” that have long roiled the Middle East, and West Africa’s furious debate over who makes the best jollof rice, couscous is a source of pride as well as regional divisions.