Sunday, November 23, 2008

Give Me Your Liver Sandwich, Prune Tajine, Hammam!

Well, we're back home...hard to believe that we left only a week ago on our whirlwind trip.

I realized that in my last post about Morocco, I failed to mention the lovely country Moroccans that we sat next to on our 4 hour train ride. These studly folks (after what I'm sure was a long day) decided that taking off their shoes and propping said funky feet on the seats was the right way to end their day. Then they decided to talk to each other loudly and close the window and doors (Allah forbid they get cold). The smell in our little cab was...ripe to say the least.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the new foods I get to try, by the second day I was itching to attempt something unusual. We hit the street market (medina) and walked around looking at jalabas and the donkey's that lumbered past with their wares. Jalabas are the native dress and (I kid you not) they are exactly like every Jedi robe you've ever seen. I couldn't help but look for light sabers or KKK members. We finally sat down for a meal in a sandwich shop. They all ordered beef kabob sandwiches (boring!) and I resolutely ordered the liver sandwich. I've never had liver and I thought the safest place for my first try of organ meat would be an unsanitary shop in Morocco. Our friends, and my hubby, were completely grossed out. I was actually disappointed when I bit into my sandwich. It was delicious...and didn't taste weird at all. They put green olives and cooked onions in it with some horseradishy mustard. It was good.

That night, our friend Mark cooked the traditional Moroccan meal of a's what passes for their casserole/stew dish. You toss whatever you have on hand in a pot and simmer for a couple of hours. Mark made a beef prune tajine. I admit, the thought of prunes in my meal sounds, erg, yucky, but when we sat down to eat it I dug in. It was delicious! The beef and prunes sat in a mild tomato based sauce with toasted almonds over the top. We pick up the meal in yummy fresh bread.

On the last day of our trip, Amy and I went to her neighborhood hammam. For those who don't know what that the bath house. Middle eastern cultures love being clean, and since hot water (and home plumbing) hasn't been common, then they go once a week (or month) to the hammam to get clean. We walk into a big tiled room and promptly stripped down to our undies. We walked deeper through three tiled rooms to a room filled with steam. You fill three buckets w/ hot, cold & warm water, sit on a bath mat, and start scrubbing the dead skin off. They say there that you aren't clean until the worms of skin come off your body. We didn't scrub that hard. Also, it's normal there to scrub the skin off your friends body. Erm, we enjoy each other at all but we weren't about to scrub each other down. It was a lot of fun sitting there, chatting it up, having everyone stare at the foreigners. All in all, a great end to the trip.

The kids did an amazing job with the grandparents...why wouldn't they when they get to eat junk food, play video games and skip school?! I'm incredibly blessed with having the parents that we do; who are willing to take our kids at the last minute.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Glad you are back! Love ya! Trish

Lomagirl said...

So the Lord hasn't provided an elk yet, but he has provided some much more interesting food. I'm glad you had so much fun.
I've never done the Hammam, but I have gone to a Korean bathhouse, which is much the same. My friend used to go regularily and ended up scrubbing an older woman's back at one point.