Category Archives: Cooking Classes and Presentations

Kitty’s upcoming cooking classes, presentations, and talks on Morocco, Moroccan culture and cuisine, and edible flowers!

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The Kasbah Chronicles: November 2019: Musings on Le Riad au Bord de ‘lOued on, Tapas, and Manzanar


Enfin! Version française. . .
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued
en livre electronique sur
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in English
How I met Jacques Chirac
J’ai rencontré M. Chirac aux J.O. de Los Angeles

Barcelona’s tapas heaven La Boqueria
L’Ampolla’s oysters…
Les huîtres de l’Ampolla.. à déguster

California’s Historic highway 395
US395: Route historique de Californie
Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp

A new neighbor: A Family Farm
Nouveaux voisins: une ferme…

Les touristes francais sont partout!
Un bistro français sur la route de Death Valley

News of Morocco and beyond
Links of interest in English and en français:

Homage à Jacques Chirac:

I got to shake the hand of this noted head of state during the summer of 1984 when I was hired as an interpreter/escort for the French Olympic team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to work for the French Olympic Committee in the Olympic Village at USC. That glimpse into the world of athletics made me appreciate the dedication of young men and women from all over the world, whose sole goal was to stand on the podium and represent their country. . As a thank you for my help, the French team allowed me to march in the closing ceremonies, and provided me with the  French Olympic Uniform. What a thrill! When the flying saucer bearing Lionel Ritchie landed a few feet from where I stood, I was already on another planet with excitement! His hit “All Night Long” rang out over the stadium and into the night as we danced around the “flying saucer.”

J’ai rencontré M. Chirac aux J.O. de Los Angeles en 1984 quand il est venu saluer les athlètes français Je leur servais d’interprète. Ils m’ont invitée à participer à la cérémonie de clôture…mémorable.. lorsque qu’une soucoupe volante a atteri devant nous, avec, comme “pilote” Lionel Ritchie qui chantait “All Night Long.”  Avec tous les J.O., il se passe un festival artistique international. J’ai eu la chance de travailler avec Ariane Mnouchkine du Théatre du Soleil qui donnait une de ses premières représentations aux Etats Unis..Nous avons parcouru tout Los Angeles pour trouver des kilomètres de soie naturelle pour leur toile de fond. J’ai hérité de bouteilles de vin olympique.

Few realize that along with the Olympic games comes a gathering of artists, actors, musicians, from around the globe. In 1984, that meant more than 400 performances by 145 theater, dance and music companies, representing every continent and 18 countries. That year I discovered the  Theatre du Soleil, a French kabuki theater company who needed hundreds of yards of pure silk for their backdrop. The French team left me with cases of their very own Olympic wine (they were the only ones to bring their own crémant label (champagne). I still have stacks of stationery bearing the COQ SPORTIF logo!

After escorting members of the media around LA, and watching them at “work”, I decided to pursue writing as a career. 1984 was a turning point.
Apres avoir servi d’interprète aux membres de la presse internationale, j’ai décidé de me lancer dans le journalisme. Et voilà comment tout a commencé pour moi.

Speaking of the Olympics, I have a collection of French pins, all bearing the COQ SPORTIF logo.
Does anyone know of a collector interested in French Olympic pins?.
E-Mail me for details if you are interested.

Je voudrais vendre des pins olympiques français qui datent de 1984. Connaitriez-vous un collectionneur?
Deux examples. J’en ai plus…


Barcelona (suite et fin): La Boqueria
Heavenly tapas; paradis des tapas


I spent 2 delicious days in Barcelona on my way back from Morocco last May.
NO wonder the city is one of the most visited in the world.  And the food! … Be forewarned upon entering La Boqueria, Barcelona’s binge-inducing public market: Go hungry, zip up your pockets, and hang on to your iPhone. In spite of the masses of people, La Boqueria proved to be a highlight of my brief visit. The entrance to this city landmark is just off Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s renowned tree-shaded pedestrian thoroughfare. Smoothies, chocolate covered strawberries, jamon serrano, Manchego cheese, fried calamari, and tapas galore… need I say more?

Can you smell the garlic?

I was headed to l’Ampolla, two hours to the south,  to visit a friend of mine. (Les vacanciers français connaissent bien l’Ampolla) I couldn’t even find mention of this diminutive Catalonian beach town in guidebooks. Immediately after landing, I took a taxi to Barcelona’s main train station, to hop on the train to Tarragona, as advised: “You will see the stops listed on the overhead electronic billboard,” said the ticket vendor…Really? After 2 or 3 stations, I realized the electronic loop was stuck: the same station came up time and again! So, fellow travelers were kind enough to tell me when I should get off. Ah! The delights of Spanish trains… memorize your itinerary and your stop beforehand.


So tiny is the town that it merits barely a 3 mn stop on the train (to Tarragona). (Attention, à l’Ampolla, le train ne s’arrête que 3 minutes. Pas de taxis ni de bus) No taxis, no buses, but a lovely waterfront. It is also the gateway to the Rio Ebre estuary, home to pink  flamingoes and famous OYSTERBEDS: Les parcs à huitres de l’Ampolla sont connus de toute l’Europe, et surtout, des français. L’Ampolla is Catalan for ”cruet” and so, my friend and I headed for the far reaches of the “cruet” to the oyster and mussel farm of Mirador de la badia
( at the mouth of the Rio Ebre. Here, the mingling of waters from the Rio EBRO (in Spanish) and the warm Mediterranean create the mellow environment for l’Ampolla’s claim to fame. The shellfish’s mild flavor derives from the unique combination of salt water with the nutrient-rich fresh waters of the river.

Heaven= freshly shucked oysters and a LITER of cava (Spanish champagne)

This is also home to one of Spain’s largest rice growing regions (L’embouchure du Rio Ebre est aussi le pays des rizières) where paddies attract flocks of migrating PINK FLAMINGOES on their way to Africa: Bird Watchers, take note!

CLOSER TO HOME:  Une route historique en Californie. La route US 395 longe le côté est des sierras (vers Death Valley et Yosemite) avec touristes français en abondance. .

We recently took a drive up highway 395, the historic road that hugs the Eastern sierras (past Mt Whitney, the highest summit of the Sierra Nevada, and the contiguous United States.) I wanted to see Fall foliage, and leaves turning, a rare sight in the southern part of the state. We did find a few gold-colored leaves, but more exciting was discovering the historic sites along the way: from the ghost town of Randsburg (Ville fantôme extra) east of Los Angeles, to Ridgecrest, home to the famed China Lake military base and the Maturango Museum ( ) featuring Coso petroglyphs of the Northern Mojave Desert Tour. Here too, you will find the Death Valley Tourist Center. The most moving national park/museum came a little farther north at Manzanar National Historic Site ( , a couple of miles south of Independence. My interest in the site was parked by an exhibit at the California Center for the Arts last year, which commemorated the history of this American tragedy along with exhibits and photographs of Manzanar by Ansel Adams. More than 10,000 internees were summarily ordered to leave Southern California.

From the Manzanar website: “Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps at which Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II.” Located at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada in eastern California’s Owens Valley, Manzanar has been identified as the best preserved of these camps…We elected to explore the park (about 1 square mile) on foot, so

we could step inside reconstructed barracks where families shared a few square feet of living space, view the remnants of an episcopal church and a Buddhist temple, traces of a baseball diamond, and the elaborate Japanese gardens created by internees. The experience was at once soul-enriching and heart-wrenching—an episode of 20th century American history that is often overlooked.

A few miles up the road, we came upon Independence, CA. Mind you, I had never heard of the town until a few weeks ago. Misled by Google maps which labels it as the “entrance” to Mt Whitney National Park, I delved a little further: As the crow flies, Independence is about 15 miles from Mt Whitney.. but, no way can you enter the park from the east. A 5 hour detour will lead you back to the “real” entrance, north of Bakersfield. I had already made a reservation based on TripAdvisor reviews at the historic 1927 vintage, ghost-ridden Winnedumah Hotel that once welcomed the likes of John Wayne and Bing Crosby, directly across from the old courthouse/library where Charles Manson was arraigned.

Built in 1927, the Winnedumah Hotel is under new ownership and management, and undergoing a revitalization while staying true to its origins. We were there at the start of the renovations, and many kinks remain to be worked out with the plumbing, electricity, and structure. But that doesn’t deflect from the lobby filled with authentic 1920s furniture, the period artwork, and the original grand piano. Perhaps the most surprising of all, for me, was that we kept running into French tourists. Go figure. We dined at the ONLY establishment in town, the Still Life Café, an authentic French bistro ( ½ block away, also French-owned. Another surprise. Indeed, the menu lists such classics as boeuf bourguignon and endives braisées (my favorite), French onion soup (the REAL thing) and other cuisine bourgeoise classics. The owner, Malika, who hails from Algeria and relocated here  from further south on 395, prepares everything to order. And she COOKS wearing A KAFTAN. Too much. Maman, daughter, grandchild, and grand-père all work the tiny dining room. They open when they feel like it so be sure to call ahead. Again, go figure..
Still Life Cafe 

Nos nouveaux voisins:
A new neighbor
: SandnStraw farm, Vista, CA (

Those who have been following me for a while know of my interest in California agriculture. The California Farm Cookbook is now over 20 years old (YIKES) but my interest in family farms hasn’t waned. So I was thrilled to find a new farm down the street. This delightful venue sells garden fresh produce, and shelters a petting zoo, and homes for Stormy the Pig, goats, ducks, and sheep. For now, SandnStraw is only open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays (Check their website) There is plenty of parking, and even a picnic area.

Have you tasted this? Let me know! I haven’t made the leap!

Kitty is selling: Pls spread the word:

For STAMP COLLECTORS: This seems so archaic—collecting stamps, but I was an avid collector when I was young. These were bought in Morocco: four packets containing eight Moroccan stamps apiece were purchased in Morocco. Each set is under cellophane and holds a combination of out of circulation and contemporary stamps (some cancelled, some not). Dates range from French Protectorate days (1912 to 1956) to contemporary.

Need a gift? I’ll sign and send one of my books!
MINT TEA AND MINARETS: ($27). I only have 50 hard copies left. You can also get it as an eBook on
Just send me a check or pay via Paypal. I will sign and ship the book in the US only.

Kitty is selling: I have many Moroccan handicrafs for sale. Send me an emakil, amd I will send you photo:
–brass mirrors, kaftans, vintage brass and copper plates, costume jewelry, and much more..

This pair of matching door knockers were made to order for me in Marrakech, Morocco about 30 years ago. FOR A BIG FRONT DOOR.
I thought we would use them for our front door, but my husband decided otherwise.
Very traditional design. Two separate mounts, one for each door knock. All handmade, brass, similar to the ones you see on the doors of the Royal Palace in Fez, and created by local artisans. I have never polished them, but if you do, they will shine like gold.
Height of Knocker: 17”
Diameter of lattice part: 8 ½ “ to 9”
Wall Mount: 7”
Small round attachment to hit:
5 “ in diameter
Brass screw: 5” long
About 6 lbs APIECE
I will send via cheapest rate possible, OR a local pick up can be arranged upon request.


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Si vous avez une petite minute, cochez le “J’aime” sur facebook. Aidez moi à faire de la pub.
Ecrivez un message sur la page Facebook du llivre.

News of Morocco and beyond:
Paris à bicylcette; cycle around Paris:

Morocco travelers! New direct flights to Morocco: Vols directs vers le Maroc à partir de Miami
In spring 2019, Royal Air Maroc offered the first Miami-to-Africa nonstop route in two decades, a direct route from Miami to Casablanca. And by next summer, fliers will be able to go nonstop from Philadelphia to Casablanca, on American Airlines’ new route (Also three times a week, but only 7 1/2 hours). In the American Airlines announcement of the new route, the Casablanca route is intended to link up with Royal Air Maroc, which will be joining the OneWorld alliance in 2020.

Français en Amerique: les immigrants français aux USA

Explication de Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving/Le Jour de Merci Donnant.. pour les francophones..
Art Buchwald’ s classic explanation of Le Jour de Merci Donnant to French speakers:

All that remains is for me to wish you HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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The Kasbah Chronicles: AUGUST 2019 (Morocco and more)


The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
en anglais et en français

Now in its tenth year! Dixième année!

Greetings from the oasis of Tinerhir,on Morocco’sKasbah Trail



Revisiting the Kasbah Trail (cont.)
Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Essaouira and the Oualidia lagoon
Fig tales encore
My LONG YELLOW fig tree grown from a cutting, is bearing fruit!

Kitty in the mediaon A Growing Passionon KPBS
What to make with all those lemons?
Lemon syrup OR limoncello…

Food: Get ready for Mars!
Only in California

News of Morocco and beyond

JOIN ME! Become a docent
The California Center for the Arts needs docents and ushers
Profs: Programmez une visite du musée en français

The MOON in literature

Kitty is selling Moroccan artifacts and more

Thank you to those who “LIKED” the Facebook page for Dar Zitoun Riad. View our historic home and keep checking the LIKE button! Spread it around! Merci!!

And thank you to the ones who have taken the time to write a review of Mint Tea and Minaretson Every little word helps.

The Kasbah Trail (cont.)

I first travelled this mythical trail when I was 7 or 8, when my father, the co-founder of what has become Morocco’s annual national folklore festival, combed the Atlas Mountains to invite Berber tribal leaders to perform on the Marrakech stage. The task took much persuasion on his part, but the fact that this English expat spoke bad French and hardly any Arabic may have played in his favor. Just another “eccentric” Englishman! And the folklore festival, now an annual event, lives on! In my last Chronicles I described our excursion to the sand dunes of Merzouga on camel back—memorable.

From Erfoud, the northernmost oasis on the trail, a narrow, two-lane road winds past dozens of fortified Berber villages, called ksour, nestled among the oases of the Dadès Valley. The Kasbah of Tinerhir, featured in such films as The Wind and the Lionand The Jewel of the Nileguards the entrance to the imposing Todra Gorges. Past the market town of Boumalne, at El Kaala des Mgouna, Damascene roses grow in profusion, and women-owned co-ops have revitalized the region thanks to the manufacture of rose-infused beauty products. Fabled Ouarzazate, once home to the French Foreign legion, has gone “Bollywood”. Golf (yes!) aficionados play on verdant desert courses (yes, and what about the water table?) and foreign film crews locate an iconic background. The Berbère Palace Hotel and its manicured grounds provide a refuge from achergui(or sirocco, hot wind), as does its vast swimming pool. Much of the lobby’s decor comes from left-over movie sets at the local Atlas movie studios.

The drive across the High Atlas mountains is always exciting—the road is quite narrow at times, and hairpin curves might make your hair stand on end (on one memorable childhood trip our car’s brakes failed, and my father rode the clutch all the way down the highest mountain in North Africa ). Stop for a selfie at the Tizi n’Tichka pass(Col du Tichka in French) at an elevation of 7,410 ft, with the mountain panorama as a backdrop. Or indulge in a freshly grilled brochette or two such as these (don’t forget to dip them in ground cumin!}

  (recipe below)

A spine tingling ride down the mountain culminates at La Ville Rose, the Pink City, Marrakech, no over a million strong. My perspective on this once glorious town has dramatically changed. The city has turned into a destination for the jet set, with all that entails: expensive lodgings, expensive food, peak traffic times leading to complete gridlock, and overrated restaurants and stores. In the rapidly dwindling palm grove, palm trees are getting scarcer as multi-million dollar holiday homes take their place. I admit, I am biased: I used to go to Marrakech as a 7-year old, and help my mother gather the Seville oranges that fell from the trees lining the streets so she could make REAL English marmalade. That Marrakech is no more—even the Jardins Majorelle –a botanic garden created in the last century by one of Morocco’s most notable painters, were taken over by Yves St Laurent.

Did you know that this iconic blue, in French called Bleu Majorelle, was first concocted by Jacques Majorelle himself?
Yves St Laurent boutique

Leave Marrakech behind to head for the Atlantic and Essaouira, a tourist destination that works hard at maintaining its soul. The town  attained its worldwide reputation as an art colony thanks to André Azoulay, an Essaouira native and once an advisor to the King. Azoulay created a gathering place for international artists and musicians such as the Gnawas, descendants of African slaves who perform with the likes of Mick Jagger and other famed musicians. The medina and its Portuguese ramparts retain their authenticity (although most riads are owned by foreigners and turned into Air B and Bs). A word to the wise: the beach is TERRIBLY windy (good for windsurfing.)

Essaouira and environs is where argan trees grow wild: this is the only natural argan forest in the world. Therefore, another word to the wise about ARGAN: READ THE LABEL:You may find that the “organic” “natural” product you purchased contains a variety of chemicals—as one passenger realized when we visited an argan oil cooperative in the heart of argan country. If you purchase the product outside Morocco, check how far down argan oil is on the list of ingredients. If it’s inexpensive, it is NOT true argan oil!

argan “nuts”and harvesters:

goats LOVE argan drupes. . .

From Essaouira, I like to head north along the most picturesque coastal drive in the country, and stop for lunch at L’Hippocampe restaurant (French for The Seahorse), on the Oualidia lagoon. When I was growing up, Oualidia is where casablancaisand marrakchiswent to escape the city heat. You too, will be seduced by the panoramic view, flower-filled gardens, and fresh seafood. A second generation of family owners has upgraded the menu but still relies on oysters fresh from nearby oyster beds, sea urchins, and mounds of fresh mussels and clams. In May 2019, a new road was being built to link up with the freeway, and the detour was quite long and bumpy. Brace yourself, and stay the course: you will not regret it.  I wish I could have attended this festival!

Oualidia Lagoon
and some of the local seafood:

Next issue: Back to Dar Zitoun and Azemmour

Makes about 10 skewers

In Morocco, beef or lamb (or chicken, or fish) is cut into 3/4-inch cubes maximum, unlike the large chunks served in the Middle East. Smaller pieces make it easier to slip the meat off the skewer with a piece of bread. Slip 5 or 6 cubes on the same stick (don’t forget a piece of lamb fat!) Dip each cube in cumin for an authentic Moroccan experience.

1 pound boned leg of lamb, trimmed of fat (reserve the fat)
1 tablespoon preserved lemon pulp
½ onion, grated
15 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
10 sprigs fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra cumin, for dipping
Harissa, hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Combine meat with preserved lemon pulp, onion, cilantro, parsley, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix with the cubes of meat. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
Heat coals or grill to the red hot stage, or preheat a broiler. Grill to desired doneness. Serve with cumin and harissaon the side.
adapted from Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen by Kitty Morse.

Kitty in the media:
Watch for my article on The Kasbah Trail Revisitedin Wine, Dine, and Travel, a beautiful, online, travel magazine.

Again, thank you to Nan Sterman host of A Growing Passionon KPBS:  A rerun of the show is always a lovely surprise: need a refresher on how to preserve lemons?

FIG TALES (redux);
We had to cut down our first fig tree because it was so prolific that the tree bent over under the weight of the fruit! We planted a cutting in another location: My Long Yellow is thriving, and I am awaiting a new crop to make raspberry fig jam. I kid you not, the first fig was as large as an orange:

I am trying to find use for all the Meyer lemons still hanging from my tree: preserved lemons; marmalade, lemon syrup, and now, LIMONCELLO! Anyone have other ideas?

Edible Book Festival: A hoot!

Have you discovered Run for Cover bookstore in Ocean Beach (San Diego)
Located two blocks from Sunset Cliffs. Marianne, the owner, speaks French, and promises personalized service. Pay her a visit then take a walk along Sunset Cliffs.

Speaking of Sunset Cliffs:
These cliffs are brittle, and disintegrate regularly. Signs abound warning how dangerous that is: So, what do visitors do? Step over the warning fences to take selfies on the edge of the cliffs. Will I feel sorry for them if they tumble into the sea? I don’t think so:

Only in California:
A woman led Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies on a brief chase, hit a utility pole and then did a series of yoga poses in the road after exiting her vehicle. Willits News

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA. needs docents and ushers
Profs de français,
cette visite peut être programmée pour  tous niveaux,  même les tous petits : Encouragez vos élèves à pratiquer la langue parlée. Rendez-nous nous visite pour l’expo de dessins d’Edgar Degaset de ses contemporains.

Edgar Degas etchings are on exhibit  this month. And if you haven’t experienced one of the county’s art treasures, now is the time: Queen Calafia’s Magic Circle is a world-renowned installation in Escondido (CA). Scale model of the Magic Circle on display at the Niki de St Phalle retrospective.

Become a Museum Docent! It’s fun, educational, and you can do it on your own time.
The California Center for the Arts, Escondidomuseum seeks to provide North County San Diego with wide-ranging exhibitions that highlight contemporary artwork. Each show is accompanied by a dedicated Student Gallery Wall as a commitment to supporting young artists in the community. Tours are scheduled on demand  for all ages. Please contact Mikee Ferran, Museum Program Coordinator, at Would your group like to practice speaking French? I will be happy to accommodate with a tour en français.  Email Mikee to schedule.

News of Morocco and beyond:
Amine Kabaj is trying to push a conservative Arab society forward by showcasing contemporary artists.

A Legacy of the Arab occupation in Spain: Water conservation

La Normandie et le débarquement recréé en OHIO!
Normandy landings and Recreating D-Day in Ohio. AUG 15 to 17, 2019

How we are faked out on Food ads WW:

A new twist on the French version of The Amazing Race: La Carte aux Trésors en Amérique

A good question: Pourquoi les Americains sont-ils si généreux avec Notre Dame?

SAY FROMAGE:Now, that’s a tour I would LOVE to take!

TRAVELERS AND READERS REJOICE!Airport bookstores are seeing the light:
Good news for travelers: a number of airport bookstores have a “read and return” program that will give you a 50% refund on a book purchased at one of their stores within six months.

As you know, I played at being an astronaut at SPACE CAMP ( in Huntsville, AL, last Valentine’s weekend.

Moon, Mars, orSan Carlos, CA??? Are you ready for food grown by robots?

THE KASBAH CHRONICLES: Return to Morocco APRIL/MAY 2019 and more

This is the first chapter of a multi chapter Morocco/Catalonia Adventure in April and May 2019

We are engulfed in June Gloom, the time of year when the ocean is trying to heat up– and morning fog settles on the coast in thick blankets. The plants love it. We do not. Especially after the rainiest winter in decades. One good thing however: you can go skiing in the Sierras until August!

From the Merzouga sand dunes

to this sign

I wish I had thought of this for my logo!

Now in its tenth year
APRIL/MAY 2019 edition

Morocco on my mind
Return to Dar Zitoun
Reflections on Marrakech, Merzouga, and Fez
Presentations and Upcoming events
Mint Tea and Minarets REVIEW pretty please!
Links of interest en français et en anglais
Kitty is selling: Vintage Moroccan artifacts and more. . .
Peculiar links of interest (possibly!)

In the next issue: stay tuned for updates on
Ouarzazate, Essaouira, Casablanca and Catalonia

From Space Camp in Huntsville (AL) in February to Morocco’s pre-Sahara dunes in April: a giant leap for this woman!

As you know, my friend Susan McBeth, founder of Novel Network ( and Adventures by the Book (, asked me to co-lead a tour of 22 passengers to Morocco last April. I agreed to come out of retirement one last time.

Ouarzazate: Catching our breath

Has Morocco changed? Let me count the ways. Heard recently on Moroccan television: “We are hoping for 500,000 (read that: five hundred thousand Chinese tourists in 2020.) Gulp. And Chauen/Xauen (aka Chefchauen) the charming little Rif mountain town where I learned to swim as an 8-year old…is now home to 3 Chinese restaurants. Marrakech and Chauen have become two of the hippest destinations apparently.

Gridlock is the word of the day in Marrakech. Some sites are so crowded one can barely move. Such is the state of affairs at the Yves St Laurent Gardens (a.k.a. Les Jardins Majorelle). At times, the High Atlas Mountains, once an iconic snow-capped backdrop to the Pink City, often disappear behind a cloud of man made haze.

Backstory: My father was a friend of Majorelle’s, one of Morocco’s foremost Orientalist painters, and my brother and I spent many hours playing in his gorgeous botanical gardens as children. The jungle-like botanical specimens have blossomed, and so have the crowds. Thanks to Yves St Laurent’s imprimatur, 300 people at least stood in line to get in on a morning in April. A small memorial to Yves and his partner, Pierre Bergé, occupy a corner of the jardins. You may need to elbow your way around the Yves St Laurent boutique and bookstore. No oil paintings by Majorelle on view, however. They remain in private collections (my father was fortunate to acquire two of them).

Starting in 1957, my father provided the buses to transport workers from the American air base at Ben Guerir (a hush hush B-52 airbase) back to town. For Xmas, my brother and I acted as “hosts” for the children of service members he invited to the Majorelle Gardens where, ever the impresario, he hired acrobats, snake charmers and gnaoua musicians from the Place Djemaa el Fna (today a World Heritage Site) to perform along the garden paths. Unforgettable!

Today, Djema el Fna 2.0 gives off a Disneyland vibe, and still boasts snake charmers and henna artists, and hundreds of tourists dine at food stalls (inspected for cleanliness each day, I am told).) One big plus regarding this sanitizing, is that most harassment has ceased and performers tend to be polite, save for one pastry seller, who, noticing I had taken his picture without his permission (MY MISTAKE), walked over to me, requested my cell phone, and then personally erased the picture from my Iphotos file. How is that for a warm welcome? NO MONEY, NO PHOTO.

Marrakech restaurants open and close in the blink of an eye. Thank goodness there are still a handful of classics like Restaurant Al Fassia Aguedal ( on route de l’Ourika), open for over 25 years, and still run BY WOMEN (a first when it opened). One of the original cooks, or dada (queen of the kitchen), still runs the show at this location. This is authentic Moroccan comfort food at its best. Reservations recommended.

GUIDE: I would be remiss in NOT mentioning our excellent Marrakech-based national guide, Mustapha Lamzougui. Only once or twice during the course of my 24 annual tours have I leaned on such an attentive guide. Our bus crew from Nice Week Tours was also one of the best: Omar Chawqui, of (!!) once drove President François Hollande around.

The Fez medina has gone through a similar clean-up campaign as Marrakech, with newly-cobbled streets, restored historic sites, and “colorful” touches strategically placed for the benefit of selfies. Even the famed wool dyers in their 11th century surroundings have been “upgraded”. You need to climb a tortuous staircase to the second floor, through rooms filled with leather goods, before getting an overview of the dyers and the vats. Just hold that sprig of mint to your nostrils.

Trois mousquetaires: Susan, Kitty, Danielle sipping mahia

à la vôtre!

In Fez, a special event for us was having tea (and the Moroccan aperitif called mahia, made from figs or dates) at my friend Danielle Mamane’s, co-author for The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco. Danielle and I conducted cooking classes together at her home on previous tours. This year, she graciously invited us for a Passover tea, or, as it is called in Fez, a “visita.” It was raining—so 24 strangers crowded around her family’s dining table laden with platter upon platter of Passover pastries (pictures attached.) Danielle knows pastries! Many of her recipes are included in our book (out of print, but still available on We got together the day before, and she taught me new tricks for assembling her cheese-filled Moroccan briouats. Merci Danielle!

Danielle’s pastries

The hotel is undergoing renovation and, when she was asked to close her boutique five years ago, she brought home her treasure trove of antique Berber jewelry. Anyone interested let me know, and I will put you in touch with Danielle directly.  These are a few items from her collection.

For our welcome lunch near Fez, I chose Château Roslane, a newly-opened boutique hotel and resort. I first took a group to the formerly named Côteaux de l’Atlas Winery (part of Morocco’s award-winning Celliers de Meknès) about 15 years ago, when the winery was in its infancy. It is now an elegant spa/restaurant featuring updated Moroccan cuisine ( and award-winning wines (Morocco IS a wine-producing country after all) and first class service. Reservations a must.

Chef and maitre d’h at Chateau Roslane: merci

A walk around the Roman ruins of Volubilis, one of my favorite sites in Morocco followed lunch—a cold and rainy visit it was-but still special. Here too, the venue has been upgraded with an indoor museum featuring relics from the site, and the addition of knowledgeable, multi-lingual guides.

Backstory: In my youth, the ancient amphitheatre served as a backdrop for French troupes performing Greek plays. It was thrilling to see the ruins (used in the  movie Patton”) come alive under the floodlights of “son et lumière”.

Our itinerary took us over the Middle Atlas Mountains, through the alpine village of Ifrane (home to an American university) and a drive through the cedar forest. A fun stop (created for tourists) was feeding the Barbary apes gathered along the road. These animals have long lived in the wild (see Mint Tea and Minarets) but seemed totally unfazed by humans.

Over the mountains and down the eastern slope we went to reach our desert camp in the Merzouga sand dunes. When I visited Merzouga in the mid-eighties, it was REALLY the desert, with the only inhabitant a vendor selling warm bottles of Coca-Cola, and the immense sand dunes. Today, a small town has sprouted at the foot of the dunes as have dozens of tent “camps” of various levels catering to Chinese, French, German, etc… Our deluxe overnight accommodations at the Merzouga Camp Xaluca consisted of individual Berber tents with sink, toilet, and even shower (though I didn’t test the latter). We got there just before sunset, and were greeted by 24 crouching dromedaries, one for each passenger. We climbed aboard the passive beasts with terror mixed with much laughter and off we went to watch the sun set over the dunes. Quite a magical sight. Later, we savored a Moroccan feast of harira soup, a tagine of lamb and prunes (included in Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen), mechoui (barbecued lamb) and an excellent couscous—all the more delectable when I realized the chef had prepared our multi-course meal over a small gas burner in an adjacent tent.

Photo Kitty Morse

I got to spend several bittersweet nights at Dar Zitoun, our family riad.. feeling the absence of those who preceded me—my late father, Bouchaib #1, and many of the characters I write about in Mint Tea and Minarets.  Sidi Makhfi, our entombed holy man under the main staircase made his friendly presence felt. And to ingest a WHOLE platter of home-made couscous (which I shared it with our Bouchaib #2, our new, excellent, caretaker) was the best welcome home.

Friday couscous at Dar Zitoun

On the subject of Dar Zitoun, would you consider checking the LIKE box on the DAR ZITOUN Facebook page at share the site with friends? I am trying desperately to spread word of the sale.

My greatest pleasure in returning to Morocco is always  to spend time with friends: My neighbor, Alain Le Gohebel, who runs the lovely l’Oum-Errebia B and B about 50 meters from Dar Zitoun’s front door invited me for two nights. What a treat: Alain, his able manager Houcine, and his chef Rahou, did much to help me during my stay. L’Oum Errebia (

One of Chef Rahou’s delectable creations: Stuffed tomatoes

Houcine and Bouchaib:merci

You may have read about Roselyne and Abderrahim Rahoule in Mint Tea and Minarets, where Abder shares his recipe for his FABULOUS tangia stew. I was honored to share in the ftor to break Abder’s fast on the first night of Ramadan. Abder remains one of Morocco’s foremost contemporary artists and ceramicists, and his public art adorns many a Moroccan city. De même pour mes amis et voisins, Yves et Marie Paule, qui me tiennent au courant de ce qui se passe dans le voisinage de Dar Zitoun

MORE on Morocco’s Adventures by the Book Tour BLOG
View more tour photos at

Nice to be acknowledged:
When I am asked if you should bring back spices from Morocco, here is my advice: The ONLY spice worth bringing back is saffron, which is cultivated in Southern Morocco, and costs five times less, at least. I order  special spices by mail from The Spice House in Evanston (IL.) This is one of the best spice stores in the US with origins in Milwaukee, WI, my American “hometown.” They sell my blend of ras-el-hanout. The Spice Way in Encinitas (CA) is also a great source.

Presentations: JOIN US!!!
Why attend Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, AL? Space junkies Kitty Morse and Pat McArdle played at being astronauts to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Friday, July 19, 2019. 2PM.

LIFE, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA. Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE)
Kitty Morse: Revisiting Morocco’s Sahara and the mythical Kasbah Trail.
Friday, AUG 2, 2019. 2PM

Culinary Historians of San Diego:
Kitty revisits Morocco’s Kasbah Trail
Saturday, September 21, 2019

UPCOMING EVENTS at the Escondido Center for the Arts: FRANCOPHONE ou FRANCOPHILE
DEGAS is coming to the Center ( where I am a docent
July 20 – September 15, 2019
Works on paper by French artist, Edgar Degas. Exhibition also includes work from Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
If francophiles (4 at least) would like a personally conducted tour in French, contact Mikelanne Ferran at
Did you know that Degas lived in New Orleans from 1872 to 1873?

Airports to Avoid:

Charles de Gaulle (CDG, Paris) : Une honte ; shame on Charles de Gaulle.
Long, narrow departure halls, lined with insufficient seats, leaving an aisle about 4 feet wide on either side to accommodate thousands of travelers, many on their iPhone. Insane. Most eateries are located below ground (Chez Paul is my favorite). I missed my plane for Barcelona (due to a dire medical emergency on the plane we were to board.) The staff was at a loss to explain the delay for about one hour. 150 passengers waiting with no explanation is not a good thing. One agent graced us with his ill-tempered presence at passport control, keeping about 300 passengers waiting. Five or 6 staff members stood around, chatting, and seemingly oblivious. CUSTOMER SERVICE?? QU’EST CE QUE C’EST QUE CA??    WHY? BECAUSE THEY CAN. . . which leads me to

Barcelona: Unfriendly and under staffed

I missed my connection from Barcelona to Casablanca because of the delay in Paris. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE STUCK ON YOUR OWN, AT 9PM, in this airport. I found myself alone and found out that most check in counters are RENTED by major airlines and operate under another name. They don’t tell you that of course. My flight was operated by Vayama Airlines for Royal Air Maroc. No signage. It took me 45 mns to locate a human being who could direct me to a booth at the far end of the terminal, which took care of the two airlines. Guessing game for you: Vayama and RAM are represented by SWISSPORT. Never heard of them?  (Found on the Internet. Swissport International Ltd. is a Chinese-owned aviation services company providing airport ground and cargo handling services. It is owned by Chinese company HNA Group. NO wonder.) Result: I had to look for a hotel at 10PM (a shuttle bus driver used his OWN cell phone to make a reservation for me since no airport staff was visible and I had to purchase another ticket for the next day on Vayama, a low cost airline to Casablanca. Fallait le savoir.

Heathrow: a sad joke

Institutionalized rudeness, as it is in Paris. When I last went through 2 years ago, I was kept waiting along with an ever increasing line, as a good dozen inspectors had their backs turned to us while they discussed their break schedule. WHY? BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Manageable airports:

Casablanca: Aeroport Mohamed V (CMN)
From the one room departure hall of my childhood to two vast terminals, Mohamed V airport qualifies as a major portal between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Word to departing travelers: a number of stores sell Moroccan artifacts—in case you missed buying them in a medina.

Tijuana: General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport (TIJ)
San Diego and Mexico share the airport and I wanted to avoid the long drive to LAX. I decided to try “crossing the bridge” between the two countries. There is ample parking. TJ’s airport is built on a human scale. Flights within Mexico or to Latin America tend to be cheaper than flights originating in the US. For my flight to Paris on AIR FRANCE (a partner of Aeromexico) I connected in Mexico City on an Airbus that had seen much better days. The food was good… not the comfort level.

To access TJ’s airport, you must first purchase a cross-border pass for $30. ( Passenger drop-off and check-in takes place a few feet from the check in counter! You then proceed over the bridge to passport control. The return is simple as well: retrieve your luggage, look for the LARGE CBX sign at one end of the hall, proceed through passport control, over the bridge, and through US customs. Back on home soil.

Looks like les français envoient leur vieux avions au Mexique ? Or else they need to upgrade their Airbus fleet. I could hardly extend my business class seat — a far cry from my flight to Vietnam last year when China Southern, an airline unknown to me up to then, featured the individual cocoons and fluffy duvets.

COUSCOUS à la UNE: BIEN SUR ! Qui en doutait ??


That’s better!
This Alabama book shop has a national audience for its autographed titles.

AMAZON reviews please!
I am shamelessly begging for additional reviews on Amazon for  
Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories.
A very short anonymous review on my Amazon book page for Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories is always appreciated. I am trying to qualify for a free book blast for the Kindle version!

I AM SELLING a variety of vintage Moroccan artifacts: Many were part of my father’s estate: they include books on Moroccan handcrafts; rugs; antique brass fixtures; Victorian beveled glass lamp with pull chain; two large brass door knockers patterned after the ones at the Royal Palace in Fez (I had them made specially but cannot use them);  linens, and more! Just ask.


More next month! I love comments!



The Kasbah Chronicles APRIL 2019

The Kasbah Chronicles

Until my return from Morocco. . .

I leave behind these gorgeous Vista clouds




Talks and presentations

March slipped away from me. In am in full “packing” mode. We have a full tour! April 23rd to May 2nd, I will be in Morocco with Adventures by the Book. And this is the view of the Mother of Spring river from Dar Zitoun’s atrium window.

I am still basking in the thrill of my lunar adventure (before it appeared in the NY Times!)

Space Camp was one of the most fun experiences of my life. Please bear with me: just one more picture!


Kitty’s Blood Orange Syrup and Jelly

Ripe fruit fall off our blood orange tree faster than I can pick them! To savor their flavor at other times of the year, I make this ambrosial syrup, keep it in the fridge, and serve it with champagne or with carbonated water for a refreshing summer beverage.

2 ¼ cups fresh blood orange juice, strained

½ cup water

1 1/3 cups sugar

For the syrup: Place juice, water, and sugar in heavy pan. Simmer for 20 to 30 mns to viscous liquid stage. Refrigerate. Add 2 tablespoons to a glass of white wine, champagne, or prosecco. Or simply combine with water and ice cubes, to taste.

For the jelly: Simmer 20 mns longer, or until mixture forms a very soft ball when dropped in cold water.  Let cool overnight on the kitchen counter. Store in sterilized containers and seal. Spread on toast, or use as a topping for yogurt, mascarpone, ricotta, etc . . .


Kitty in the media:

Wine Dine and Travel Spring is a gorgeous online travel magazine, and free for the download. This issue features Argentina in depth. I am very excited to be among its contributors. Read about my trip to Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most historic cities.


Classes and presentations:

LIFE, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE) Oceanside LIFE.


Why attend Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, AL?

Kitty Morse and co-space junkie Pat McArdle celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

July 19, 2019. 2PM


LIFE: Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

Kitty Morse: Revisiting Morocco’s Sahara and the mythical Kasbah Trail.

FRI. AUG 2, 2019


Culinary Historians of San Diego:

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Savoring Morocco’s Kasbah Trail

Kitty’s Adventures at Space Camp! and.. upcoming tour to Morocco




Space Camp program guide

Where to begin? The article explains most of it. This was, for me, the kick of a lifetime. My friend Pat (, a novelist and solar cooking expert , feels the same way. So we attended Space Camp..

Kevin Joest, a talented young composer, was a member of our TEAM PIONEER at Space Camp. Most members were young techies, space groupies as I were, as I am. Listen to Kevin here:

Our great Team Pioneer (we won the prize for the best team!)

Chef Clementine feeds up to 850 children a DAY in the summer!

Then this: IN SPACE FOR REAL!!

In a historic moment of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company’s Crew Dragon craft successfully docked at the International Space Station on Sunday . . .

The Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA: Fascinating!Step into Air Force 1 (the old one), a piece of the Berlin Wall, the suit Reagan wore when he was shot, learn how to set a table for a state dinner at the White House(really!!) and much more. A very entertaining and educational 2 hours—

Presentations: Oceanside, CA.

Lunch and chat, thank you so much! Encinitas Literary Ladies: 

“Thanks Kitty! 

It was great having you join us today for lunch.  I know everyone had a wonderful time.  I think it was a book club gathering that will be remembered for a long time!  I will pass along the Kasbah Chronicles information to the group.  We look forward to seeing you again some time in the future.  Have a wonderful trip to Morocco (Your book helped us feel like we’ve been there).”

 All the best, Pam


Kitty and Pat will give a talk on their adventures at Space Camp, July 19th, 2019

for the LIFE group (Learning Is For Everyone) at Mira Coast College in Oceanside (CA) (LIFE link)

Catalina and Avalon: a throwback to quieter times

Kitty in the media: Crown City Magazine,Coronado, CA


TIJUANA 40 years ago!

The San Diego Reader is really digging into its archives!

A piece I wrote about 40 years ago when I was on staff at the struggling (no longer so)  San Diego Reader!! How things have changed!!


Our flight back from Space Camp took 5 ½ hours from Charlotte NC to San Diego. A little boy, seated behind my friend Pat, coughed and sneezed all the way home, while his mother paid no attention. The inconsiderate woman kept eating her potato chips, ignoring her kid.

I AM ASKING WHY AMERICAN and all other airlines, DO NOT HAND MASKS WHEN THEY IDENTIFY A SICK PASSENGER. That kid infected half the plane (indeed, 2 weeks later, Pat still had a good case of bronchitis.) SHAME ON THE MOTHER.