topics: tajine (food); jump to dispatch

BikeAbout Log


Rider Notes: October 7, 1997

Breakfast: Today we breakfasted on another (see breakfast from September 30) remnant of the French colonial period: pain au chocolat. Basically this is a hand-sized piece of bread that has a small piece of chocolate baked into it. This morning we were lucky enough to have pains au chocolat that were still warm! Mmmmm.

Lunch: Today we had a traditional Moroccan lunch that is described in detail in the group dispatch.

Dinner: We were still pretty bloated from lunch, so we had a small dinner of herira, salade médeterranéene (tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions), and more small Moroccan hamburgers.

Food of the Day: Tagine au poisson (fish tagine)

The word "tagine" describes both the earthenware cooking tool click to view a photograph click to view a photograph and the cooked result, a stew simmered slowly in a flavored basting liquid. In addition today's vegetable and fish tagines (described in the group dispatch), the most exciting variations mix meat and fruit — chicken with quince, dates or a tomato-honey jam, mutton with prunes, veal with tomatoes and eggplant.

Word of the Day: Insh'allah — "If God wills" or "hopefully"

Insh'allah is used frequently throughout Arabic-speaking areas in a similar way that "knock on wood" or "touch wood" is used in English. For example, "Anthony will break no more spokes on his rear wheel, insh'allah." Everyone touch wood for Anthony on this one.

Person of the Day: Soumia Khalfi

Soumia Khalfi, 29 years old, is a graduate student in economics, studying recreation and social relations. She is part of the AMED (Association Marocaine d'Exchanges Multidisciplinaires pour l'environment et le Dévelopment — The Moroccan Multidisciplinary Exchange Association for the Environment and Development) group (with Essaida and Driss) that is assisting our voyage in Morocco and has been extremely helpful in providing us with an understanding of Moroccan culture and customs (especially the food!). In return, we have been answering her questions about what North Americans think about Morocco and what we do for recreation.

Place of the Day: Mediterranean Sea

Today, for the first time since we arrived, the Mediterranean Sea was easily accessible and so the BikeAbout team assembled on its shores to wet our hands in its water and attempt to gaze across its enormity. Each of us paused for a moment to think about the trip ahead while absorbing the beauty of this sea at the center of the world that will be our focal point for the next nine months.

Group Dispatch, October 7

picture of Anthony Today was a catch-up day for us. click to view a photograph We have been on the road for over two weeks and we were greatly looking forward to a day of relaxing and writing. Because of the coolish weather, we decided not to spend our time in the sun at Nador's renowned beaches (over 180 km [112 mi] worth!), which during the summer season (June through September) are packed with tourists. Interestingly, many of the tourists actually come from southern Morocco because it is cooler in the north (35°C [95°F] can seem refreshing when the alternative is 45°C [113°F]).

Although we skipped the beach, we did take a break from our writing to indulge in a large Moroccan noonday meal. The mid-day meal is traditionally the biggest meal of the day in Morocco, but since on most days we have been biking up some serious mountains around noontime, we have not had the time (or stomach) to enjoy this. The meat-eaters among the BikeAbout gang decided to stick to a fish diet — this seemed wise as we were only 100 meters (328 feet) from the Mediterranean Sea (see our Place of the Day). Ethan, Anthony and Padraic started with fish soup and then moved on to a type of tagine that no one had yet tried — tagine au poisson (see our Food of the Day).

The fish soup was very simply done, a clear purée served with a slice of lemon. It tasted refreshingly of the Mediterranean and whetted our appetites for the next course. The fish tajine was excellently prepared. There was a large piece of cod cooked slowly over a low heat with potatoes, peas, and olives. By the time Anthony, Padraic and Ethan finished, all that was left was a small pile of bones, a few olive pits, and three clean plates. Everyone stumbled out into the afternoon sun into and to an outdoor café for a mint tea, happy for once to not have to climb aboard their bikes.

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