For those who are hungering for a food-related post, here is one! All our meals are currently served at the hotel we are staying at during training (well, part of training), and food on the streets is a little harder, and trickier to get during daytime Ramadan. So, I will share what we have been served by the excellent cooks downstairs.
With Ramadan comes special foods that are only served during Ramadan. l'ftor* is the breaking of the fast once the sun has dipped below the horizon. For those of us who aren't participating in Ramadan, this has become dinner. A dinner with a lot of sweets.
To break the fast, one eats a dried date, or tmr (which are better than any dried fig I have had in the US). The rest of the meal includes Hrira soup (with chickpeas and lentils), zmita (loose flour, dried fruit, peanuts, almonds, anise, sesame seeds, etc.), and shbakiya (crispy fried dough with honey). Zmita seems strange at first, looking like a pile of spices, but is pleasantly sweet and nutty. Shbakiya will be my downfall. Thankfully it is only offered during this month, and I will surely miss it once Ramadan is over. I'm not a huge consumer of fried things, but these have the heavy fried taste. The honey lightens up the crispy dough, and oozes out as you bite into it. Hrira is satisfying, but not my favorite soup thus far. Apparently, it differs significantly in preparation from house to house.
More food to come as I am able!
*You will notice that the phonetic spelling of Moroccan Arabic includes a significantly smaller amount of vowels.
photo: Clockwise, starting from the top- shbakiya, zmita, dates
I am currently serving in Peace Corps, Morocco, as a small business developer working with artisans since September 2008. I have a Master of Fine Art, in studio art from Washington University in St. Louis.