Durum Wheat Couscous Grains: An Ethnic Mediterranean Food at the Interface of Traditional Domestic Preparation and Industrial Manufacturing

Foods. 2022 Mar 22;11(7):902. doi: 10.3390/foods11070902.


Couscous is the product prepared from durum wheat semolina that agglomerates by adding water and undergoes physical and thermal treatment. Couscous is a traditional food from Mediterranean countries consumed for many centuries. Between ancestral domestic practices and industrial performance, the diversity of methods for couscous processing meets the needs of different consumers, whether they are concerned about preserving family culinary traditions or discovering innovative foods that respond to changing consumption patterns. In this work, we present the story of durum wheat couscous through several complementary visions and approaches: a "historical and societal" approach to discover the origins of couscous, its migrations and its unifying role in Mediterranean societies; a "physicochemical" approach to describe the role of wheat components at the heart of couscous grains; a "technological" approach to compare domestic and industrial production of couscous; a "food science" approach to understand organoleptic characteristics of couscous grains; and a "consumer" approach to understand the motivations associated with the consumption of couscous.

Keywords: couscous; domestic preparation; durum wheat; history; manufacturing processes.

Publication types

  • Review