Food is both a great pleasure and a great bore depending on how you look at it.
We all - almost all - love eating it.
It's less interesting planning it and shopping for it - unless that's how you want to spend your day.
This is a little 'hanut' in the souks -look how tiny the shop is and how unpackaged and fresh the veggies are.
In Morocco, one spends a greater proportion of one's time dealing with food - which can be fun. Look at the goodies in the patisserie..........
This is what the table in the courtyard looks like at lunch time - a sort of shrine to fruit and flowers.
This last picture is of one of Ismail's mother's tagines........which take hours to cook and prepare and are worth it in the end.
I'm going to add a little essay here about our experience of food in general on Morocco.
When we moved to Marrakech we realized we would have to rethink our food shopping. In New York we had been spoiled by having D’Agostino’s, Chelsea Market and the Farmer’s Market in Union Square all within walking distance.
But one of the delights of moving here was discovering how everyday things differ from at home. The first, and most obvious thing, is how plentiful and inexpensive fresh fruit and vegetables are - great heaping piles of little oranges, grapes, bananas, dates and olives in little hole-in- the -wall shops and on handcarts on every street. I buy fresh manderins or oranges most mornings to squeeze to accompany either flat, round bread or baguettes just delivered from the bakery. You can get cereal including Frosted Flakes - my favorite - but since the milk is different, fruit, bread are apricot jelly the best options.
There is a covered market by the Mellah - old Jewish quarter - where chickens, rabbits and pigeons hop in cages awaiting their doom. Some people take the birds home still alive suspended from their bicycle handles: at least they are certain the food is fresh.
The Mellah market also sells beautiful roses for only 20 dirhams for 20(about $2.50). The vendors always throw in a few extra as a ‘petit cadeaux’ - little gift. Often when I carry the flowers home I’m approached by a Moroccan who asks for one “Por Moi?” - and I’m happy to oblige.
For lunch we mostly have a picnic in our courtyard - bread and cheese and salad with bright red tomatoes, and olives of course, either spicy green ones or small black ones. In the afternoons carts appear with macaroons, napoleons and miniature croissants.
For dinner we often have chicken with whatever vegetable seems most abundant that day. I haven’t yet mastered the tagine - a melange of meat and vegetables arranged beautifully with the meat inside, slow cooked all day under a conical earthenware hat.
However, our guardien Ismail, a young man who looks after the house when we are away and generally makes our life easier, has a mother who is a mistress of the art. What hours she must spend chopping and spicing. We have never met this excellent cook but, when we ask, tagines or couscous or harira soup appear at our door at 7:30 pm. Harira soup, thick, full of beans and vegetables, is traditionally served - with dates on the side - to break the fast during Ramadan when no food is eaten by observant Muslims during daylight hours. You can imagine how everyone longs for dusk to fall. There is also another soup - a bit like porridge and not nearly so exciting served at that time of year.
Because you buy everything fresh, we were here for four months before we realized we needed a can opener - to open the can of cranberry sauce thoughtful friends sent by post from America for Thanksgiving.
So, all in all, we have a very healthy diet with almost nothing packaged, frozen or canned. Everything is convenient and available within a five minute walk. The only things we have to go on a bus out of the old part of the city to get are bacon, hard cheese like Edam, and, of course, beer.