Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Study Abroad: Part 5

Food is such a vital part to our life.  Without it, we might be able to survive five days.  With it, we can thrive.  The biggest part of food is our enjoyment of it.  Smells and tastes combine to give you a feeling that is incroyable.  The memories that are stirred up from a single bite are endless: a humid summer and cooling down with watermelon, a spicy taco from Oxacala and the creamy taste of horchata, the sweet-and-cold of bubble tea with sticky tapioca.

In Morocco, food also serves as a vital link that ties the family together.  When there are five or more children in a family, the reunions tend to become complicated.  However, come Friday or Saturday, it seems that everyone is determined to come together for couscous.

 Two people were invited to go to couscous at a friend's place in Sale last week, and I tagged along.  First off, couscous is a given.  Every one will have couscous, whether it's homemade or restaurant-bought.  Second off, Sale and Rabat may be twin cities, but that does not mean that traveling to and fro is easy, especially if directions are the bane of your existence. 

When we entered, let's just say it was a beautiful and lavish home by any standard.  An apartment that size in China, without furnishings, could set you back $17,000.  Please, just let that sink in. 

Amine's uncle, a club manager named Momo, is the sort of guy you get beers with.  He also just happens to speak Russian and have a Russian girlfriend.  Amine's mother was in the military.  She has the sword to prove it.  His little brother is just starting university and likes to sleep...

Couscous was a full out affair: meat, pumpkin, legumes all lavishly prepared.  Through in fresh, cold buttermilk to drink, peaches for dessert, and it's a delicious meal.  Add tea made of azir (a local herb), chocolate biscuits, fresh roasted almonds, and green tart grapes, and it becomes a meal reminiscent of Thanksgiving. 

Amine's mom thoroughly spoiled us.  She also prepared argan oil, a Moroccan sort-of staple that has skyrocketed in price, ahmohse (a blend of argan oil, almonds and honey), olives and fresh olive oil. 

Between mangling French, learning derija, and just stuffing our faces, we laughed.  Food is a great common denominator, especially when you have interesting people to share it with.


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