I know it’s been a while, but Mint Tea and Minarets beckoned above all. The book is on its maiden flight towards independent bookstores across the US.
I did want to post the latest in spice news however, because I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. Ras el Hanout, that most traditional of Moroccan spice blends, has made its appearance at Walmart, courtesy of McCormick Spices. Isn’tthat a hoot? And to think that when I arrived here in the mid-sixties, Morocco was often confused with Monaco, and couscous was unknown. How far Moroccan flavors have come!
Let me know if you have a “fabulous” find regarding an aspect of Morocco you might want to share. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to view all the information:
September 2011: Morocco continues to be an enticing destination. From what I hear, Marrakech is turning into ONE GIANT HOTEL room! If you are planning on going to Morocco, make sure to save time for the “authentic”. Flee the big cities and head to the smaller towns in the countryside. There, you can find out what Morocco is really like.
December 2010: Morocco is changing so rapidly, it makes my head spin. Think twice before spending an extended amount of time in Marrakech. The once laid back Pink City is a nightmare of traffic jams and is becoming almost as polluted as Casablanca. Maisons d’Hôtes (Bed and Breakfasts), I was told, now number more than ONE THOUSAND in the medina! Traveller beware!
November 2010: Where there is wind there is hope!
Energy Entrepreneurs: Morocco is home to the largest wind farm in Africa.
August 2010: Have you seen pictures of the NEW, IMPROVED and legendary Hotel de La Mamounia? I’m sure it’s stunning, but why do I have a feeling that Churchill might feel a little out of place in the extravagantly redecorated surroundings? I remember staying at La Mamounia as a child, and my father pointing discreetly to a gentleman seated at a table by one of the dining room’s large bay windows, and whispering: ”That’s Noel Coward!” http://www.mamounia.com/fr/suites-exception.php
A tous les anciens Casablancais qui passent par ici:
Regardez le site: www.Casamemoire.org. Vous apprecierez les photos du Maroc d’Antan (great site for vintage Moroccan postcards)
http://www.leconomiste.com/ is Morocco’s leading news magazine featured my culinary tour in Azemmour: Des Américains sur la piste de l’art culinaire in Edition 1646 du 19 novembre 2003.
Pet peeves: “Is Israeli couscous really couscous?”
No! It isn’t! Israeli couscous is a pasta product, similar to Italian Orzo. Unlike couscous, it is not semolina at all, but rather baked wheat. And, while true North African couscous is usually steamed, the bead like pellets of this so-called “Israeli couscous” must be boiled like pasta to become palatable. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_couscous for more detailed information.
Another is: “Can I expedite the process for making preserved lemons?”
Well, not really, if you want to make preserves. Preserved lemons, as their name implies, must be left to soften for 4 to 6 weeks at room temperature. I am aware of a number of “quick” recipes—including a “vacuum-packed” method for making this addictive Moroccan condiment. You may gain a few days, or even a few weeks’ time—but the end flavor will be quite different. Patience is a pre-requisite to making REAL preserved lemons. Sorry. Put up a jar now! It is the season for lemons.
Couscoussier vs Couscoussière: Cooks from France popularized the feminine ending. Any Pied-Noir(e) or North African worth his or her salt uses the masculine, COUSCOUSSIER, or else, calls the pot bellied implement that holds the couscous broth by its Arabic name, keskes.
Aie! Aie! Aie! Besteeya: Neither French, nor English, nor Arabic, this bizarre transliteration doesn’t do (grammatical) justice to Morocco’s magnificent chicken “pie”. What’s wrong with calling the dish bestila or bastila, a word that better denotes its real Arabic name? The French know it as pastilla.
Why do so many people persist in calling TAGINE (TAH-GINE) a TANGINE (when did the “N” sneak in there?)
Enough pet peeves for now! Here a a couple of sites for you to explore:
I was delighted to stumble upon http://www.marocantan.com and http://www.levieuxmaroc.com, sites (in French) about colonial Morocco viewed through vintage photographs. I even got to revisit my old high school, the Lycee de Jeunes Filles in Casablanca.
In my entry at http://www.kittymorse.com/2008/09/23/bay-area-impressions, I write about the Vietnamese influence on Moroccan cuisine. Indeed, I often explain in my classes that mung bean noodles (vermicelles de Chine in French) have infiltrated the Moroccan culinary repertoire, especially as a stuffing for chicken or fish. To better comprehend this unusual Asian influence, visit the following blog that focuses on Vietnamese-Moroccans searching for their roots. http://2morocco.blogspot.com/2008/12/moroccans-from-vietnam-proud-of-their.html
September 2009: I have just read the most interesting article in Saudi Aramco World, a beautiful (and free for the asking) magazine about Arab culture: The Saracens (many of them Berbers) invaded France’s Saint Tropez, yes THE Saint Tropez, in the ninth and tenth centuries of our era. Read all about this extraordinary episode at
March 2010: Don’t miss this article relating the fate of Morocco’s often ill-treated donkeys (as well as an up to date description of Fez):
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