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The Kasbah Chronicles: August 2018

The Kasbah Chronicles
August 2018


Carlsbad Beach: 7:30AM

 

Why travel in the summer when we can take an early morning walk along one of the most photogenic beaches in Southern CA? With the dramatic Orange County fires a mere 50 miles to our northeast, I can only count my blessings when wading through arcs of receding ocean foam as intricate as Belgian lace.

 

 

Photo courtesy Jeff and Sigrid Stillman
I was so excited to view this photo of a formerly endangered species making a comeback on our  North County beaches.

My friend Roger, an avid bird watcher, enlightened me as to this species of birds: “”The terns . .  are almost certainly Royal Terns, a species of large tern that occurs along much of the East Coast and also along the California Coast as far north, I’d guess, as San Francisco.  They have to be distinguished from two other large terns, Caspian and Elegant Terns, both of which do breed in your area. . . “

Contents

End of my Vietnam gastronomic adventure: Historic Hoi An and Vietnamese banh mis
Three Art institutions not to miss in San Diego County
Stay cool with ginger and lemon grass tea. . .
So retro: Gin and Tonic
San Diego Festival of Books
Presentations and book signings
Links of interests in English and in French
The MERCI Train; Le Train de la Reconnaissance
in  North Dakota

Kitty’s books
A Biblical Feast
and
Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion are available as eBooks on Amazon.com.

Musings:

Hoi An, Vietnam’s cultural capital:
One thing I didn’t expect upon visiting Hoi An’s ancient UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE city center was The Reach Out Teahouse’s (https://reachingoutvietnam.com) divine quietude and its charming cadre of speech or hearing-impaired young staff. Whispering is de rigueur in this oasis of serenity where the only way to communicate is by sign language or post-it notes. Patrons lost in solitary contemplation recline on hassocks in the cool penumbra sipping ginger and lemongrass tea. (Recipe below)

The blissful tea house is far removed from the supercharged atmosphere at Mme Phuong’s, a world-renowned sandwich shop, which, according to former globe-trotting author Anthony Bourdain serves the world’s best banh mi, Vietnamese sandwich. (https://www.facebook.com/Bánh-Mì-Phượng-Hội-An). I almost missed the sliver of an entrance to Mme Phuong’s, had it not been for the swarm of foreign patrons slinking past an assembly line of uniformed sandwich makers making banh mis in metronomic precision.

My food forays didn’t stop there:  at Mme Vy’s Cooking School (https://tastevietnam.asia/vietnamese-cooking-classes-hoi-an)I uncovered a Pandora’s box of culinary specialties. This brilliant establishment combines a vast food hall cum market place, and an up-to-the-minute cooking school staffed by a trained instructor. Six hours later, I was privy to the secrets of making pho (Vietnamese soup), crispy eggrolls, Vietnamese beef stew, shrimp soup, and their special nuoc mam sauce. Thank you Phoebe, agent for Asiatica (http://www.asiatica.com), a Hanoi-based travel company, for creating our private, food-centric itinerary.


There is water, water everywhere around Hoi An, and you can’t access certain areas without a short boat ride, or crossing a well-travelled bridge. We accessed Tra Que Island in this manner to spend time at a local farm, and lunch al fresco. Later, we embarked in a “basket boat” or coracle, for a leisurely mini-cruise on the Thu Bon River. . .at 2PM, many waterways were overrun with a cacophony of Korean vacationers with boomboxes, each boat practicing its own karaoke skills in view of a prize for who could sing (screech?) loudest. Interesting.

Yes, I did learn how to make Vietnamese Rice Pancakes, but I have found equally good ones at Sontra Restaurant, between Fig and Date, on Valley Parkway  in Escondido (CA). I have mentioned the take-out establishment before, but it bears repeating that SonTra’s banh mis are just about as good as Mme Phuong’s!

Kitty’s Ginger and lemongrass tea

In Hoi An, where the April heat proved almost debilitating, downing several glasses of iced ginger and lemongrass tea at breakfast energized me for ensuing hours of sightseeing. I have planted lemongrass at home (though you will find lemongrass in all well-stocked supermarkets) and I can reproduce this elixir in my kitchen in Vista. It’s a great alternative to iced tea.

1 stem fresh lemongrass, trimmed of dead leaves
4 thick pieces fresh ginger (be generous)
4 cups water
Sugar or honey to taste

Trim a stem of lemongrass where the leaves meet the bulb. Discard the tops. Smash the bulbous part with a rolling pin. Do the same for the ginger. Bring the water to a boil and add the lemongrass and the ginger. Simmer 15 to 20 mns. Remove from the heat. Sweeten to taste. Serve iced.

The old-fashioned pleasure of a gin and tonic:
I am not a drinker. Neither is my husband. I sip a glass of wine now and then, but cannot abide the flavor of beer. Lately, however, the crushing heat inspired me to make a retro drink, a drink that for me, defined my parents’ generation . . . But I am a baby boomer and I have acquired a new taste for old flavors, such as a gin and tonic in all its retro goodness – from the bitterness of the tonic to the surprising smoothness of the gin, and a squeeze of lime from our ever bearing Bearss lime tree.

Presentations and book signings:
From the Poway Library: Thank you!
Hi Kitty,
Thank you for your wonderful presentation at the Poway Library this past Saturday!  It was much enjoyed by all the participants and the food and tea samples were excellent.  I also received my first issue of your electronic newsletter- thank you!  . . .
I think you also mentioned that you do presentations on your Edible Flowers book.  I would love to book you for that in the future!
Sincerely,
Karen Baluyot, Poway Library

Come one! Come all!
San Diego Festival of Books: http://www.sdfestivalofbooks.com
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018.  10AM to 5PM.
Liberty Station, San Diego
Kitty will be there from 1 to 2PM. Look for a table hosted by Adventures by the Book and Novel Network
http://www.adventuresbythebook.com
http://www.novelnetwork.com

Still the best cultural Enewsletter for San Diego County!
http://parobs.org

“The City of San Diego is home to one of the most vital and culturally diverse populations to be found anywhere in America. The Participant Observer is a web magazine dedicated to discovering and showcasing the wide variety of culturally interesting events, people, places and organizations our city has to offer. . . In addition to covering local events, The Participant Observer publishes features and articles about cultural events and phenomena happening around the world. . . “

Have you visited these San Diego art institutions lately?
The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (CA):
http://artcenter.org

I am a docent here.  The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling Exhibition & Local Color, showcases the best of the best among American watercolor artists: Do not miss! ENDS August 26, 2018

. . . Each year the AWS holds a juried exhibition that draws thousands of entries from artists throughout the world. . .
Featured local artists include: Janice Cipriani-Willis, Pat Dispenziere, Linda Doll, Robin Erickson, Ken Goldman, Elaine Harvey, Carol Mansfield, Chuck McPherson (I LOVE his humorous self-portrait!), Charles Rouse, and Keiko Tanabe (plein air artist.)

San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is a local and vibrant art venue sometimes overlooked. View the exciting upcoming exhibits
https://www.sandiego-art.org/

Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad, CA. 15 mns from my house, and located across the street from LEGOLAND! https://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/events
I have just discovered this terrific “museum”. Shame on me for not having done so sooner. This hive of musical activity features an ongoing array of artists from California and beyond. I was so taken by the museum that I joined a chorus class. I have absolutely NO musical training… but I am learning how to read music (sort of, though it remains pretty much like Chinese to me), and better still, I am exercising my untrained vocal chords as part of a chorus. A HOOT!

 

Links of interest in English and en français:

Another French culinary icon leaves us: Adieu Joel Robuchon

https://france-amerique.com/fr

Quel fromage??! En quelle saison? Eat cheese, but eat it in season ??
https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2018/08/02/manger-du-reblochon-l-ete-du-mont-d-or-l-hiver-quelle-saisonnalite-pour-les-fromages

It takes all kinds, n’est-ce pas?

https://france-amerique.com/fr/on-the-usefulness-of-french-classes-in-the-united-states Thus declares the governor of KY:

https://france-amerique.com/en/kentucky-governor-says-no-to-french/

Did you know this governor? Milwaukee (WI) has one of the largest Bastille Day celebrations in the US. So does Santa Barbara (CA)

https://france-amerique.com/fr/what-do-we-celebrate-on-bastille-day/?ct=t(France-Amerique-newsletter-28-june-2018_COPY_01)

Did you know about the French Gratitude Train and museum in North Dakota? http://www.mercitrain.org/
“. . .The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948 . . . “
Traduction: Le saviez-vous ?
« . . . Le Train de la reconnaissance comptait 49 wagons remplis de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de cadeaux, témoignages de la gratitude d’au moins autant de citoyens Français. Ces derniers exprimaient ainsi leur reconnaissance aux Américains qui, en 1948, leur avaient envoyé plus de 700 wagons pleins de denrées essentielles, données en grande partie par de simples citoyens. Le Train de la reconnaissance arriva dans le port de New York le 3 février 1949, et chacun des 48 États américains reçu un des wagons chargés de cadeaux. Washington D.C. et le territoire d’Hawaii se partagèrent le contenu du 49e. . . » My cousin, on a trip through North Dakota, sent me these pictures:

ON the other hand: Hey, KY governor: Did you realize?
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180808-what-is-the-future-of-english-in-the-us
“The combination of being American and a native English speaker is one that affords huge economic privilege to swathes of the United States population. Those of us who speak English from the cradle forget how easy we have it . . . despite being a racially diverse country where over 350 languages are spoken – Generation Z – loosely defined as those born after the year 2000 – is set to be the most racially diverse generation in US history . . .”
online here.

From Morocco and beyond:
Alcohol is banned in Morocco as in all Muslim countries: Wrong.. We have the Romans and Phoenicians to thank for giving birth to Morocco’s thriving wine industry. The Doukkala, the region where our riad, Dar Zitoun is located, produces an array of wines, as does the area around Meknes. . .
https://telquel.ma/2018/07/20/le-vin-marocain-2500-ans-dhistoire_

Sephardic places of worship experiencing a revival in Marrakech:
http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/blogs

If you are traveling to Morocco in the summer: Be careful of vendors along Moroccan beaches: Anarchie sur les plages
https://dimabladna.gbp.ma

Kitty is selling:
I have mentioned previously that I brought back items from my father’s estate in Morocco. Two of these happen to be antique lamps. I will not ship them, thus they have to be picked up in North San Diego County. This chandelier was part of my father’s estate in Casablanca, Morocco. I obtained it in 1994, when I brought some of his personal items to the US. The arms all are movable; the chandelier can hold candles but is also electrified. No breakage, all hanging parts are in excellent shape, and I have a few spares. It might be an original Louis 16th chandelier, or made in the style, in France, and brought to Morocco at the onset of the French Protectorate in 1912.
It is on display at TAP Lighting in Hillcrest in SD.
3690 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest
(619)692-0065
info: taplighting@aol.com

  • I am personally selling: $595.00

  • AUTHENTIC EARLY 20th CENTURY ANTIQUE HANGING LAMP IN EXECELLENT CONDITION.

  • Antique pull-down Victorian hanging glass oil lamp.My father originally purchased this lamp in Casablanca. It probably dates to the beginning of the twentieth century. Might be English or French (the French occupied Morocco from 1912 to 1956.)

  • This stunning lamp hangs from the ceiling from an adjustable, brass, double-jack, chain-driven manual pulley attached to an ornate cap. Beveled (pressed?) blue glass is in excellent condition with four decorative, raised detailing, painted bouquets, and diamond patterns all around. The small oil burner at the base pulls down, and needs a wick. Some corrosion to metal parts commensurate with age. This is its natural state. In 2002 I took it to the Antiques Road Show in San Diego to have it appraised. Price at auction was set at $800.00

Measures:
Height of glass section: about 12 inches
Circumference at widest point: about 29 inches
Length of chain and pulleys: about 17 inches with 3 ornate brass pulleys and 6 chain “link” pulleys that can be lengthened or shortened

And this very special Moroccan cookbook written by a well-know chef in Marrakech:
New. Gorgeous photos. With matching slip cover.
USD60.00
plus shipping if necessary

  • Hardcover: 348 pages

  • Publisher: Art Creation Realisation (April 1, 2004)

  • Language: French

  • ISBN-13: 978-2867701672

  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.8 inches

  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds

Thanks for reading!

I love Feedback!
As always:

Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit

 

The Kasbah Chronicles July 2018: More Vietnam and more Morocco!

 

June and July 2018
LA VACHE QUI RIT IS EVERYWHERE!

A Vietnamese snack…

MUSINGS
. . . more Vietnam adventures
When in Hue, head for Han’s
You missed a good one: Book Club Bingo and Novel Network
California Center for the Arts: Watercolor Show
Got art? Need frames?
Very, very cool: radio stations around the world
Cookbook collectors: get organized
Talks and presentations
Lots of interesting links en français
and in English
Tipping remains a mystery? Here’s help.

Matisha thrives!


Spanish Potato Tortilla..with tomatoes

Musings:

As I write, the 12 young soccer players and their coach have been extricated from that ghastly Thai cave. Thank Goodness the divers succeeded. The far away drama took our minds of dramatic political events closer to home. And then the peripatetic Anthony Bourdain decided to take his own life. I don’t know about you, but my brain is exhausted. What else is there to do but carry on!

Last month,  I left you in Hanoi.. Today, let me take you to Hue:

This former Imperial City and now a World Heritage Site, lies midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon.) Its imposing Chinese Citadel suffered major damage during the “American War” and is undergoing extensive Unesco-funded restoration. Less known to the outside world, is that Hue is renowned for its cuisine. When in Hue, head for Han’s and sit down among the locals for a memorable lunch:

Then take part in Being like a farmer at Eco Garden. We began with a leisurely bicycle ride among orchards of pumelos and rice paddies of Thyu Bieu village a few miles outside of town.

After our bike escapade, we donned the outfits of a Vietnamese farmer, complete with brown baggy pants, loose shirt, and coolie hat, before trying our hands at milling rice. I tried in vain to manipulate the grindstone and sift the rice meal. . . not possible. Before long, we were hard at work digging for sweet potatoes along the banks of the Perfume River. Later, we savored the fruits of our labor at dinner served under a thatched-roof hut and a cacophony of cicadas.

The next morning a mini cruise on the Perfume River was capped with a cooking class at the Hue EcoLodge.

Clad in EcoLodge aprons, and inspired by the scent of grilling pork kabobs marinated in lemongrass and stir-fried green beans fresh from the lodge’s garden plots, we followed the instructions of our young instructor. As I bit into a warm bite of the sweet potato we had just dug up, it occurred to me that the Hue Ecolodge may be riding the crest of a new food trend: Farm-to-Chopsticks

 Suite au prochain numéro (next time): low-key, historic Hoi An..

I came across this site par hasard earlier a few weeks ago. In case you missed their review of Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, a couple of years ago, here it is. FYI: Alimentum is one of the best sites for food literature on the web. Thank you Alimentum

http://www.alimentumjournal.com/review-of-mint-tea-minarets-b/#.Wxfu04plCfA

Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories

“… But if you don’t cook Moroccan at home, are not near a Moroccan restaurant, and are nowhere near Morocco, you can still smell the aromas, feel the air and atmosphere, hear the languages of both Arabic and French, by opening a book: Kitty Morse’s Mint Tea and Minarets.

Ms. Morse was born in Casablanca and spent her growing-up years there. Her father was English, her mother French. So her perspective straddles both Western and North African customs. Her newest book (she’s written many) is an exotic yet personal memoir festooned with spectacular recipes.

Ms. Morse journeys back to her family’s home just outside Casablanca. She has a mission: to sprinkle her father’s ashes in the river near Dar Zitoun (the name of her family home) and to transfer the title of the property from her father to herself. Both activities come with a full set of red tape that puts Ms. Morse through an obstacle course filled with cultural antiquity and modern day greed. The true colors and characters of Morocco emerge. This is at once familiar, frustrating, and endearing to Ms. Morse. Her endeavors bring her back in contact with a large part of her identity—a part she treasures and needs. The longer she stays, the more she is drawn back into this unique lifestyle. And its food. ..”

New this month: My editor and I are hard at work turning Mint Tea and Minarets into an eBook downloadable on Kindle and all other platforms. I am very excited since I only have 120 hard copies left.. with no thought of reprint. .

Stay tuned! Use your KINDLE!
Kitty in the media:

Seasonal Pantry: How to make a Middle Eastern feast

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

This one is inspired by a recipe in “Cooking At the Kasbah: Recipes From My Moroccan Kitchen” by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1998, $22.95). NOW IN ITSTENTH PRINTING!

Kitty’s next presentation:

I love our local libraries. They serve as community centers for all age groups rather than as just a depository for books. And librarians are models of patience. Last week, I was invited by the Poway Public library. Thank you for the lovely welcome!

On July 25th, at 1PM, catch me at the San Marcos Public library for a talk (and food samplings) on Mint Tea and Minarets. It’s fun, educational, and air conditioned! And need I add, FREE of charge!

For information:

2 Civic Center Drive

San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 891-3000

New art exhibit in Escondido:

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (I am a docent there, book a private tour!)is holding its upcoming exhibition beginning July 14 to August 26th.

The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling exhibition and local color.http://artcenter.org/museum/

Amis français, le saviez-vous:

French school named for North County D-Day veteran

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/columnists/logan-jenkins/sd-me-jenkins-france-20180601-story.html

“…. une école a mon nom. . . ..from our own North San Diego County….who knew??

Book clubs: Have you checked out Novel Network? In the last Chronicles, I announced that I participated, along with 22 other writers, in Book Club Bingo, an event organized by the newly formed Novel Network and Adventures by the Book. You missed a good one! Close to 100 participants gathered on the top floor of San Diego’s architectural wonder, our Central Library, for a day of seminars, meet and greets with authors, a luscious box lunch, and networking galore. This is the brilliant concept: Book clubs register for free on the Novel Network website, look for an author (now at 45 and increasing) and book their favorite. Voila… I can also conduct SKYPE interviews no matter where your club meets!    Ever thought of writing a family cookbook? I can help you with that too!


Got Art? Need frames?

Just to let you know we have a wonderful frame shop right here, in Vista. The gifted Gina of Art and Frame Studio, 610 E. Vista Way (760)806-7777 (same parking lot as Chin’s restaurant) carries a wide assortment of frames. She just reframed a half-dozen pictures for me, and I am thrilled.

Links of interest about Morocco and elsewhere:

An addictive site: Live music streaming from stations around the world

http://radio.garden/live/vancouver and elsewhere

For a laugh and an education! Accents around the world

https://localingual.com/?ISO=FR

Cookbook collectors may find this of interest: Organize your collection. . .  I have always wondered how to do that…

https://www.aspentimes.com/news/weekly/modern-familycookbook-collections-get-user-friendly-thanks-to-tech
 
CELL PHONES IN CLASSROOMS? What do you think?? Teachers, especially?
 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/french-school-students-to-be-banned-from-using-mobile-phones?CMP=share_btn_link

The Beat Generation in Tangier:

Vous les connaissez ces messieurs-dames?

Sooooo condescending from my point of view. Didn’t they have anything better to do, surrounded by maids, cooks, drivers, and who knows what other kind of help, but smoke, drink, get high, and criticize the “natives”? Is that what makes a literary icon?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-tanger-accueillait-la-beat-generation-231531

Les courses automobiles à Casa dans les années 50,

When I was growing up in Casablanca, my father helped organize car races. Remember Sterling Moss? I recall the cars roaring along the Corniche and meeting the famed racer: who does these days?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-le-maroc-organisait-son-grand-prix-de-formule-1-231372

 Zagora, in the Moroccan Sahara. We hunted far and low for medfouna (meaning: hidden) which I managed to track down (this was in 1970), and adapt for my first cookbook, Come with me to the Kasbah: A Cook’s tour of Morocco. Sort of a cross between stuffed pizza and calzone. . .

http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20180122-madfouna-moroccos-surprising-take-on-pizza

IS the US a visa free country?

https://www.passportindex.org/?country=us

Incroyable mais vrai? Et honteux….And I thought being bilingual was an advantage:

https://www.theguardian.com/us/news/2018/may/22/speaking-spanish-dangerous-america-aaron-schlossberg-ice?

France: Dommage, les bons petits bistros disparaissent. . .

Les petits bistros de quartier disparaissent : https://france-amerique.com/fr/parisian-bistros-appeal-for-unesco-world-heritage-status/?

Meanwhile in Tunisia, where I spent many weeks researching recipes for my book,The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books)

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/may/02/return-to-tunis-why-now-is-the-time-to-visit-this-historic-city? (Actually, Tunis looks much like Casablanca, a treasure trove of Moorish Art deco architecture. Sidi Bou Said, on the sea, is charming! It is VERY VERY hot in Tunis in the summer)

And in 2016, Tunisia ranked 62nd on the Global Entrepreneurship Index. Today it ranks 40th worldwide and is No. 1 in Africa for entrepreneurs.

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/the-unlikely-hotbed-for-african-entrepreneurs/86977

Bravo to Khaled Bouchoucha who started his career working on planes – now he’s running a startup that optimizes the health of hives. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-data-engineer-on-a-mission-to-save-tunisias-bees/87037

 Confused about tipping? I am. Here is a possible guide.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-confusing-tipping-situations_us

Has anyone cooked with this? I haven’t tried it yet. I have to laugh though: you have to purchase most ingredients to take advantage of the barley inside the packet?





To keep you cool, a Vietnamese drink!

Bismillah
and Bon appétit.

Kitty