Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories
Behold, a singular structure soars above the banks of the Oum er-Rbia, Mother of Spring River, within the ramparts of the 16th century medina of Azemmour, Dar Zitoun, erstwhile House of the Pasha. Into her late father's painstakingly restored riad, Moorish mansion, the author of Mint Tea and Minarets, an expert on Moroccan cuisine and heir to the property, warmly coaxes you. Generations of cooks and centuries of celebration there sweeten the invitation. Dar Zitoun has many delicious stories to tell. An hour south of the author s native Casablanca, scour the Azemmour souk for seasonal ingredients, then meet Dar Zitoun's gifted cuisinier/gardien Bouchaïb to concoct aromatic tagines. In the footfall of her recently deceased father, the author uncovers the provenance of her culinary passion: Dar Zitoun was an ancient cooking school. Follow Kitty as she seeks out bibi beldi, free-range turkey, at a farm on the Doukkala plain and is instructed in falconry by Kwacem tribesmen, the only commoners authorized to capture and train the raptors. Frequent a local camel market and hunt for the source of the Oum er-Rbia in the High Atlas Mountains. Having grown up in North Africa during the French Protectorate, a unique time in history, the author has a pied-noir's rarified perspective. Fresh burdens as her father's executor, including a marathon quest for the riad's title through Morocco s Byzantine legal system, help build an appetite, as do the family recipes that accompany the tales just told and the amusing cast of characters in this cultural mosaic that characterizes the northwest corner of Africa, Al Mahgreb Al Aqsa, Land Where the Sun Sets.
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