03.01.2010 - 03.06.2010
Cooking in Morocco has been an enjoyable experience, mostly because Phil does all the cooking. We've got a routine of stopping in any village, picking up fruit and vegetables from the various stands along the road and mostly buying meat from the large supermarkets that you only find in large cities. When we arrived in the small surf town of Imsouane we decided to cook a tagine for ourselves.
The tagine is a cookery dish that looks like a ceramic tepee. Shove a ton of veggies, cumin, and some kind of meat inside, stick it over some coals & it's done in 45 min. It's something I can do! But Phil still did most of it. We went to a hole-in-the-wall store to get some veggies and meat. The vegetables for sale would never reach Western store shelves due to the fact that 90% of them were soft and just beginning to fur. However, when you've got no other choice, you lower your standards a little and pick through to find the least putrid produce.
Through a small 'hallway' in the store, we found the butchery 'section'. We asked a man in a dark room standing behind a makeshift counter (not particularly clean, not abhorrently dirty) what he had available, he said "poulet" (chicken) and we said "ok." He opened up the large stainless steel box beside him which may have once been a fridge, but now, being room temperature inside an not having a sealed door, lacked every necessary characteristic of being one - and pulled out an entire raw chicken.
I think our large eyes and shaking heads gave it away that we didn’t want a full fowl, so he asked if we’d like half. Half would do. After a deep “Ok” from the man, he placed the chicken on a slab of wood and reached for something at his knee. It was a knife. It was the size of a car door. No joke, one drop of this battle axe and the chicken was halved, bones & all. It’s not as if it was a clean cut either – the weapon was rusty (and from the way the carcass split, dull as well) but just so heavy the chicken never stood a chance.
He glanced up to see if we were satisfied with the portion. I think our large eyes and surprised expressions gave it away that we were. He asked if we wanted the half chicken filleted and cut up and we said that’d be great – easier to fit into the tagine and I love a nice chicken breast. WHACK, WHACK, WHACK. In 4 seconds it was mashed into 3 or 4 unrecognizable chunks. "Merci."
We returned to the camper, chopped up the veggies and hucked in the chicken chunks and in an hour had a most delectable delicious moist steamy pile of goodness.