The Kasbah Chronicles February 2015


Who would ever think of endowing apostrophes and commas with human attributes? If you have time to spare, take a look at Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a brilliant little book that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Am I the only one? I am embarrassed to admit that I purchased a Kindle Fire, then decided to return it. My brain rebelled at mastering yet ANOTHER electronic gadget. Enticed by free eBooks and the promise of free movies on Amazon, I used my Kindle to watch two, strangely absorbing series, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Choosing free eBooks full of unknowns proved more of a quandary. Thus, the Kindle Fire and I parted ways: the Kindle returned to to Amazon, and I, to my local library’s second-hand store, where I perused through shelves of REAL books, Eat, Shoots and Leaves among them.

Freed from the irresistible pull of the Kindle’s screen, I made orange blossom preserves. A carpet of delicate white petals covered the ground of our “family orchard” (about 6 citrus trees.) In between rain showers, I was able to gather the two cups of blossoms to test my recipe. (for Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion, coming out soon, Inch Allah!

Food for Thought: The Muslims of Early America


FEB. 9, 2015

In it, M. Manseau mentions our Zemmouri hero, Estebánico/Al Zemmouri, the black slave from Azemmour who walked from La Florida to Mexico with three Spanish conquistadores in 1535 (you might want to refer to the article I wrote for Aramco World in their April 2002 issue.)

. . . In 1528, a Moroccan slave called Estevanico was shipwrecked along with a band of Spanish explorers near the future city of Galveston, Tex. The city of Azemmour, in which he was raised, had been a Muslim stronghold against European invasion until it fell during his youth. While given a Christian name after his enslavement, he eventually escaped his Christian captors and set off on his own through much of the Southwest (and all the way to Mexico City.)

Two hundred years later, plantation owners in Louisiana made it a point to add enslaved Muslims to their labor force, relying on their experience with the cultivation of indigo and rice. Scholars have noted Muslim names and Islamic religious titles in the colony’s slave inventories and death records . . .”


2 thoughts on “The Kasbah Chronicles February 2015

  1. Lucinda Martin

    Hello! I have just reread your Cooking at the Kasbah and Vegetarian Cooking North Africa.

    I try to restrain myself, but I keep making Hlelem. It appears to be addictive.

    I have a question. Because I am more than a little allergic to almonds, and I see you say that peanuts and walnuts are also used in Moroccan cooking, would it be authentic to use walnuts in, say, a b’stilla, or a tagine instead of almonds? Or should I just omit the almonds?

    Your cookbooks are so engaging, I think, because you have found just the right balance in describing how you were introduced to the recipe, what you saw along the way, the people who touched you while you were learning and visiting. I look forward to Tea and Minarets.

    Thanks so much for sharing intoxicating Morocco with us. I look forward to visiting.


    1. Kitty

      Lucinda, how kind of you to write and post here. To answer your questions, it would not be traditional to substitute walnuts or peanuts, but so what? If you use walnuts, don’t use many. Have you seen the recipe for my vegetarian bestila made with ground mushrooms, peanuts and herbs in The Vegetarian Table: North Africa. I fool meat-eating friends into thinking there is meat in the dish. It’s a good one!
      I will follow up with an email asking if you would like to receive The Kasbah Chronicles, my monthly e-newsletter. is the email.

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