Monday, September 12, 2011

Moroccan Caravan Part III

With our crafts completed and our hands decorated for the occasion, we were ready to move on to our big night. The night when we listen to music, eat food, and review what we have learned by playing a casual game of trivia.

On the day of our celebration the guests that we had invited, Preston's parents, were unsure if they’d be able to make it. I started to worry that my kids would be disappointed if we didn’t have any guests, because how can it be a celebration without any guests? At the last minute we heard from my mother in law that she was coming but my father in law was not. Also, that she was bringing two of her other grandchildren, our niece, age 12, and our nephew, age 10. We had to scramble to rearrange our plan a little bit to accommodate two children as opposed to one adult, and sadly we were short one napkin ring, but we weren't going to let that ruin our night, it's only a napkin ring after all.

I had the table set and the food cooking when our guests arrived and... it. was. aromatic. Our niece and nephew immediately started with, “Eeew. That smells gross.” And as annoyed as I was, I also kind of agreed. It smelled sort of... bad. I was worrying about how we were going to plow through a meal that smelled so pungent. I hated the idea of calling for pizza after all of our preparations, so I continued cooking the entire menu as planned. While listening to Arabic radio, I told myself that it was okay if we didn’t like the meal. It was ok because we were still learning, and besides, the music was SO good.  

When we all sat down at the table there was reluctance in the air. No one wanted to be the first to taste the food.  

Here is our dinner table and there's that pashmina that I mentioned here!
We served it up on to the plates and everybody took some of everything. It really didn’t even look that good. I took a bite and it was like a celebration of flavor in my mouth.  It was sweet, it was salty, it was spicy, it was flavorful and juicy. It was absolutely delicious! Then, a beautiful thing happened, I heard my 10 year old nephew say, “Wow, this is actually pretty good!” After that, my niece said, “Yeah, I like it.” My kids, who are far less difficult to please when it comes to food, gobbled theirs up too. 

 Khoubz, Moroccan Flat Bread. 
Romaine Lettuce and Orange Salad.
Seffa Medfouna.
 The white stuff on top is powdered sugar. Clearly I should have used a sifter to get an even coating instead of clumps. The chicken was supposed to be buried in a mountain of this but I wanted to separate it to accommodate picky eaters. I opted for couscous instead of vermicelli because couscous is the "National Dish  of Morocco".
Moroccan Saffron Chicken.
My dinner plate.
Dessert: Ghoriba with coconut.
We all breathed a little easier, since the reluctance was gone, and I started asking the trivia questions.

Beyond learning about the wildlife and transportation of Morocco, we had learned a new lesson. Not everything that smells different is bad and sometimes by staying focused and moving forward you can be greatly rewarded with good conversation, bellies full of yumminess and memories of happy children that were learning while they were playing.

After our guests left and the kids were settled into bed, I took a deep breath of relaxation. Then, I turned the calendar to see which country we were onto next.....

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