After my trip to Morocco
The Morocco Mall
On the spur of the moment, I flew across the pond to Morocco in early November to take care of Dar Zitoun, our family riad, 90 kilometres south of Casablanca. My memoir, Mint Tea and Minarets relates the story of this local landmark which I hadn’t visited in FOUR years. Although Dar Zitoun has been in the family for over half a century, it is time to put it on the market and hand over the keys to the next buyer. It is now ready for sale. Please feel free to broadcast the link: www.darzitounriad.com.
In Morocco, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with old friends who always make my trip worthwhile. One of my hosts was Abderrahmane Rahoule, the director of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Casablanca. His art and ceramics adorn many a public building and private collection.
Air France rocks! (Not so Delta Airlines in the US, which treats its passengers like lemmings. Shame on you Delta US for dingy planes and dingy service.) And the AF connections between Paris and Morocco are excellent. I have no idea how the 800 passenger Airbus gets off the ground, but a complimentary glass of champagne and a smiling Air France flight attendant (yes, even in “cattle car”) did much to lessen my fears. While Charles de Gaulle airport is geared to luxury and comfort with soft music, a MUSEUM, and comfortable seating throughout, the Delta terminal at Kennedy is an embarrassment, the “wretched” refuge of “huddles masses,” sitting and lying around on the floor. Is this the impression we want to give our visitors? Hats off to the TSA, however. Passport control now consists of scanning your passport into a machine. Really?
Morocco sits squarely in the twenty first century. TEXTING is the norm. Freeways, skyscrapers, traffic jams to rival downtown L.A’s, Casablanca’s state of the art train station and sleek electric trams have transformed the landscape (downtown is now a giant pedestrian mall, how cool is that?) I browsed around the Galeries Lafayette, the iconic French store, at the Morocco Mall in AIn Diab, on Casa’s Corniche beachfront boulevard.
Ain Diab Coastline
A royal wedding in Rabat topped it all off (I wasn’t among the guests, but I did meet up with Mrs. Chirac, wife of the former French president, in the Rabat medina!) Rabat’s recently opened Musée d’Art Contemporain is definitely worth the detour, as is dining in a riverfront restaurant in the new marina along the Bou Regreg listening to a live rendition of New York! New York!
I am no longer conducting tours, but I can assure you that the country remains a welcoming destination.
At the Mall, STARBUCKS, KFC, MacDos and Pizza Huts are leading the fast food invasion.
On se rencontre a Starbucks?
ou a KFC???
A THANKSGIVING TRADITION
Our family tradition dictates that we serve cassolita to accompany our Thanksgiving turkey basted inside and out with preserved lemon pup! My great-grandmother served this alongside a steaming mound of couscous.
1 lb Mediterranean or butternut squash
2 large onions, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Place unpeeled squash in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel, seed, and cut into serving pieces and place in baking dish.
Heat olive oil over medium heat, and cook the onions with the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook 5 minutes longer. Spread the mixture over the squash, sprinkle with almonds, and heat in the oven for 20 minutes.
Happy Jour de Merci Donnant