Sinful pleasure


There are cookbooks that will never see a kitchen, and cooks who never saw a cookbook. So was the case at Ville Maroc, when a group of writers with different ethnic backgrounds and “overactive imaginations”, gathered around a table on the patio eagerly waiting for a late lunch. After some time, someone took a peek in the kitchen and noticed that the cook had just started cutting vegetables.

“Moroccan cuisine is one of the most sensual in the world,” said the guide. That may be true, but nobody warned us it is the slowest to make. In Morocco everything takes more time… to talk, to prepare food, even their Internet. We were famished when Zeiba asked us, “What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?”

“The best meal I’ve ever had? It’s called a gastrorgasm,” said Harry. He gets credit for inventing a new word to add to my English vocabulary. No matter where people come from, they love to talk about food since it’s the focus of their day, and often the focus of their culture. It didn’t take long for our group to start talking about the sumptuous Italian bread dough, Hindu soup, Turkish Baklava, et cetera. We were so hungry that these orgasmic dishes almost sounded better then the real thing. The guide’s story was interesting, but like our meal, it was slow to develop.

“Moroccan women can spend a whole week preparing one dinner,” said the guide. This didn’t sound promising. “It’s a diverse cuisine with many influences, so a single meal can consist of as many as fifty courses. It took my grandmother a day to make Bstilla, a crisp pastry filled with chicken and bread. Then she would make lamb Kebabs, a series of salads, followed by Tajine (meat and olives in a stew). Then came the Couscous and Batinjaan- an eggplant salad, accompanied with fruit and honey. The meal would be capped with a hot cup of mint tea.”

When he finished his story, we felt like exhausted lovers ourselves. And then the real lunch came. The meal was a simplified version of what the guide had described about Moroccan cuisine. I don’t know if it was the best meal in my life, but this was certainly the most memorable conversation about food I’ve ever had.


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