A Moroccan Memory
The only time I can recall eating Moroccan food was when my parents took my siblings and I on a trip to Epcot Center. Like most family vacations, Epcot consisted of my dad complaining about the price of just about everything, us kids complaining that we were hungry and/or tired and/or wanted to be at Disney World, and my mom complaining that she was tired of listening to all of our complaints.
To be honest, I can’t really blame my dad because Epcot was very expensive. And worst of all? There was nothing to do! We walked around kind of aimlessly, not knowing how to justify admission costs. We were very unclear as to why we spent an arm and a leg in entrance fees only to spend even more money on overpriced food and souvenirs. The only thing that was clear was that us kids needed to do some serious “oohing” and “aahing” if we wanted to avoid our father getting angrier with each unproductive and pricey minute that went by.
After humoring my dad for a few hours, we were all relieved when he announced it was time for lunch. But our happiness was short-lived because he chose a Moroccan restaurant. Not only were we not in the mood for a food adventure, but the food was really terrible. I mean, it was so terrible that I was literally gagging with each bite. But we abided by my dad’s golden rule…when he was spending money we had to pretend like we were having a good time, no matter what. My sister didn’t get the memo though because she decided she wasn’t going to humor anyone, least of all my dad. The fallout wasn’t pretty and needless to say, Epcot was our last and final family vacation.
Despite my horrible experience with Moroccan food, I was totally craving it yesterday. I think it partially had to do with the fact that after much counseling I am finally at peace with the nightmare surrounding Epcot, and partially because I came across a recipe for Chickpea Tagine with Cinnamon, Cumin, and Carrots and by some miracle I had almost all the ingredients.
I never have all the ingredients for something, because, well that would just be nuts.
I revised the recipe a bit, as follows:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 frozen spinach
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes until the onion slices are soft. Stir in chickpeas, carrots, dried cranberries, spices, honey, and 1 cup of water. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
Yogurt and cilantro would have been good additions to this awesome dish, but of course I didn’t have either item in my refrigerator. Big surprise there, right? But I did have brown rice, proof that miracles do happen.
I was a bit nervous that Ali would have issues with a totally new dish for dinner, but other than to ask me if the dish had cinnamon in it, I heard no other comments. I think my defensive, “Why, is it not good?” response probably scared him into proceeding any further.
What can I say? I have my dad’s temper.