Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I went to Morocco and India yesterday. . .

Yesterday I worked on a scene set in Marrakesh all day, and I did some flipping through guide books, and some googling, and by the time Jim and I were trying to decide on a restaurant to go to for dinner, I really wanted Moroccan food! But I discovered that apparently the only Moroccan restaurants in Portland are big belly-dancery affairs where you sit on poufs and eat mass-produced four-course meals. You know, all ambiance, like for birthday parties and stuff? That wasn't quite what I was looking for. But we did find a "Mediterranean" restaurant (Lauro Kitchen) that serves Spanish, Portuguese, and North African-inspired dishes, and we went there. Good choice! I had a chicken tagine with pistachio couscous (though the photo there is a beef tagine I just swiped off the internet), and Jim had pork loin in plum sauce, which was a bit less Moroccanish, but yummy. And there wasn't a belly dancer to be seen. Not that I'm against belly dancers or anything. But, you know.

I am massively craving travel to an exotic country -- Morocco in particular. Poring over the guidebooks isn't helping. You know, you can go to the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Mediterranean beaches, Berber souks. . . all in that one country! Sigh. And the mint tea. . . I've been reading about how they prepare and serve it. Very interesting. They hold the tea pot at head height and aim the tea down into those tiny decorative glasses, and it forms a head, like a glass of beer. Cool, no? Sadly, it is highly unlikely -- I would go so far as to say improbable -- that we will be traveling there any time soon. I can't quite bring myself to say "impossible" though I am sure that, tragically, it is true. Sigh. Maryam, have a glass of mint tea for me, and, I don't know, pet a peacock :-)

So anyway, after Morocco, we went to India! That is, we finally saw Slumdog Millionaire and it is SOOOO GOOOOOD! DO try to see it.

Now, I'm headed back to Marrakesh, where I left my main character taking tea with an Amazigh (Berber) graverobber. . .

On a totally separate note, I've discovered, through a chance email comment, a fellow parasite enthusiast! That is, Portland YA author Christine Fletcher, whose Cybil-short-listed Ten Cents a Dance I started reading last night (so far: SO GOOD). Turns out we're both kind of in love with parasites and could go on talking about them happily for hours! Who knew? Turns out she's even taught Parasitology to veterinary students, so she knows a lot more than me, a mere amateur parasite-lover!


Diandra Mae said...

So does your parasite affection include microbes? If so, you might get a kick out of this:


Personally, I've always wanted the bookworm, although the fat cell is kinda cute, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Well, who doesn't adore a good parasite?
Interesting post, today, Mizz Taylor...DiBartolo (which do you prefer?). I'd love to experience one of those cool restaurants where I sit on a cushion consuming more spice then I can chew! :-D

K. M. Walton said...

Interesting - you would LOVE Marrakesh in Philly. You feel like you are in Morocco, literally - pillows on the floor, no utensils, rugs on the walls, incredible food.

S R Wood said...

Speaking of non-American food, when I was in India a few years ago, at the height of the bird flu scare, I had an interesting moment at dinner.

I was there for business, so the hotel was fancy-schmancy, and I was eating in the restaurant in the lobby. I had no idea what anything was, so I happily pointed to items on the menu and made waggling ("fish") or pecking ("chicken") gestures. Everything was going well, and I ate in pleasant and willing ignorance.

Then my heart -- and my stomach -- lurched when I spotted, nestled in my rice, an egg-shaped object that appeared to be a steamed chicken fetus, complete with compressed feathers and a wrinkled little eye. I nudged it aside and kept eating, thinking dire thoughts about bird flu and wondering whether I was really as tough and adventurous as I thought.

I worked up some courage and timidly asked the waiter about it.

"That, sir, is mutton."

Aha. The "chicken" parts were just pieces of the cut of mutton.

I still didn't eat it. But the rest of the meal was incredible! To this day I regret that my fear of stomach problems kept me from sampling Mumbai street food. The smell of chiles, limes, mangoes, masala, curry, seared chicken, hot pepper, all of it hanging in a cloud of wet steam, is nearly irresistable!

Laini Taylor said...

Seth, you are making me JEALOUS! My only similar experience is in Vietnam, where I ate something called "eel wrapped in pig's omental fat" and it was DELICIOUS! I did brave the street food too, especially in Hanoi, where it was cold, and we had pho for breakfast -- there were numerous unidentifiable bits, but still, delicious. I can't wait to try Indian food in India some day. Sigh. . .

jaecy bells said...

Okay, I know this has NOTHING at all to do with the blog post, but as a writer, I would like some tips, if you have time. I would like to know how/why/if:

It's easier to set a shedule for writing
If there are ways to beat writer's block

And tons of other stuff, but that is the main part. Bottom line: stuck on my novel. I am buried in a pit of wordless crap. If you know an answer or could offer some advice, you could do it here or go to my blog,

Em said...

Sounds like a yummy dinner! And I just added Slumdog Millionaire to my blockbuster queue. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I remember a certain Thanksgiving time stew made by one Laini Fattypants Taylor-DiBartolo that involved one antelope elbow, three mice lungs, and two snail nostrils served cold and pureed over a little decorative puddle of milk chocolate. I remember how I wailed and wailed that I'd never take a bitty bite but when I at last surrendered and did, it was totally delicious! You are an amazing chef! I can't wait til you make tha ostrich paw casserole this weekend. (Do you have any idea who this is? I've signed in anonymously.)

andalucy said...

mmmm Moroccan food is so good. I haven't been to Morocco but my husband went a few months ago. I would LOVE to be there right now. It's 9 degrees F right now in Minneapolis!