Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mbruk L'eid

Smoke off the grills rising from all the rooftop decks as the heads and hooves of the sheep are first to go on the fire. Listening to the thrashing of my neighbor’s sheep on our roof as it is dying (and why does it seem to be taking so long?). Sheep were slaughtered on rooftops, the lot next door and on the sidewalk in front of homes. Everywhere. Blood running down the gutter. It must be L’eid Kbir. Not my favorite holiday, but the holiest of them all in the Muslim world. I’ll go over to Fatima’s later-no need to spend the day there-really don’t want to eat meat all day long-but need to make an appearance.

Spent time w/Fatima’s family yesterday as well. Kinda humorous, in a language sort of way. Fatima had invited me over when I saw her on Wednesday (the coop is closed Thurs til next Wed for L’eid). Told me to come over “f l eshya”. What time? Gir l eshya. Waxa. Now, my understanding of eshya is afternoon, ie; if I’m invited over Friday afternoon, that’s “couscous Friday” and it’s eaten after mosque, about 2pm. So I show up about 1:30. They’ve just finished lunch, not couscous, and not really expecting me. Huh? I give them the framed photo I had printed up for them-my favorite of Fatima, Hind, their mom and another sister. Stick around for about an hour or so, watching TV with them. Then decide to go (since I don’t understand the Fusha Arabic). Tell Fatima I’ll see her tomorrow (meaning today). She tells me I’m supposed to come "f l eshya, had lyum". I’m confused, come back? Iyeh. Shal seah? Stta ns wla sbae. OK, so in her book, eshya is also evening, and I wasn’t supposed to come until 6:30-7 (and no one ordinarily eats a meal then, thus my confusion). Waxa. I’ll return later after we laugh about my confusion.

Head home and get a chance to Skype w/Jeannie and Sharon, from Sharon’s new house in Las Vegas. Haven’t talked w/either of them since I’ve been here, so a great opportunity to catch up.

Then I decide to make up the pumpkin chocolate chip cake recipe I’ve got and bring it to Fatima’s later. Now, how exactly does one know how much pumpkin pulp you’ll get out of 3kg of pumpkin squash? No buying a can of pumpkin-it’s DIY country. So I’ve cooked down the squash, but don’t have enough for the pie I was gonna make, but have enough, along w/choc chips AND brown sugar (neither avail. in Morocco-both brought back from U.S.) to make up the cake. Hamdullah. So I get it in the oven and immediately start worrying about how long to cook, what size flame. You see, ovens here are basically metal boxes w/a butane-fueled burner and no temp gauge. I have NO idea what the temp is. Get a bit concerned that the bottom is cooking wayyyy too fast, so I get the bright idea to set it under the flame, not on the pan immediately above the flame. I think this is a brilliant idea-indirect heat, yak? Also get the inspiration to order up a digital remote oven thermometer (think barbecue therm.) on-line for future baking. I’m in the process of ordering when I smell the butane gas. Now, I’m also thinking that my butane tank is about to be empty (since it fuels both the stovetop and oven), so have been watching and smelling for signs of no gas-is that what I’m smelling? I go check it out. OMG!!!! The cake has caught fire and is flaming like crazy. I think fast enough to turn off the gas, blow out the flames and open the door to the balcony-conveniently located right next to the oven-and put the damn cake outside. Crap. Now I’ve wasted precious pumpkin pulp, choc chips AND brown sugar. It’s a miserable trifecta. And furthermore, no cake to bring to Fatima’s. Bummer.

Anyway, I did go back to their house, we had rafisa (traditional yummy tagine), watch TV, talk and Mohammed walks me home in the fog. I did tell them about the cake and they had a good laugh.

Slept in a bit this morning, did my riada (pilates), cleaned house for everyone coming over tomorrow, and need to clean up and go over to their house again for a bit. Jess will be coming in later today-will be good to catch up with her-haven’t seen much of her since MarcheMaroc’s been history.

Mbruk L’eid.

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