Here I am,retired,living in a village at the foot of the Atlas mountain range,and my life is in balance learning a new culture. My initial fear of losing my identity as a working professional has been obliterated in a sea of new experiences.There are no movies here,no bowling alleys,or even a club! I thought boredom would be my constant companion,how incorrect!
The photographs enclosed,taken on a short walk through the open marketplace,shows an array of colorful foods that stimulate to salivate,all fresh from the fields.The aromas from the spice market assail ones senses and pulls you in to ask about the uses. Small wonder Moroccan food is so popular worldwide.
This is Said,my favorite place to shop at the open air market in Khemisset.
Every variety of fruit and vegetable is available here,even sweetsop. A few steps around the corner I am able to choose my live chickens that the proprietor cleans and cut up.
Fresh eggs are in abundance at the chicken shack.
Next follows the spice array in open air,everything from ground sesame seeds to Bay leaves and medicinal roots,dried beans and curcuma,a yellow spice that looks like curry but has a completely different taste.
Here is an inside look at some cultural practices in my adopted country Morocco. Without fail,Friday is couscous day after prayers,with families gathering to partake of this delicious dish. Did you know there are several grades of couscous,not just the packages on the shelf at Publix. Presented here is the seed covering from wheat grain,unprocessed. All couscous here is steamed 3-4 times,then garnished with a wide variety of vegetables and beans.Everyone eats from a large communal bowl,and true Moroccans will take a small handful,throw it a few inches in hand until a perfect ball is formed,then plopped into the mouth,quite a treat to watch. Next time I will open the door to Tagine cooking.
Preparing the couscous by ensuring there are no lumps
Here you see the couscous on a double boiler being steamed,while the smaller pot called a cocote (pressure cooker) has the meat and veggies
After the grain is cooked,meat,vegetables and sauce are arranged on top
Extra sauce from the chicken is served as a side
The finished product.Voila! Bon Appétit
This is a "TAGINE", frequently used in Moroccan kitchens for a one pot meal,much like a "slow cooker " made of 100% clay,the inside is ceramic. There are 2 separate parts to a tagine, a large bowl for the base,and a conical cover. EVERY Morrocan home has one,and every restaurant in Morocco offers tagine. A small amount of olive oil is placed on the bottom,then meat is arranged and seasoned,covered and left on "low". Midway through,vegetables are arranged like a teepee around the meat,the cover is replaced and everything is left to steam,retaining all the vegetable nutrients.Spices vary,but Cumin,Coriander and Paprika are favorites.The peel from some vegetables like pomme de terre (potato) are dried in the sun and re-used during cooking,so nothing is wasted.My introduction to Tagine cooking was at a restaurant,so not being fluent in Arabe, I asked about this mystery meat going "Is this "Moo"or baaa! Worked for me.Till next time mês amies Americane, bon apetit.
Until next time. Please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonya Lewis, Author A Corona of Clouds -Amazon
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