I lounged in the courtyard of our Riad (guesthouse). Sultry African sunlight streamed through the branches of an orange tree, casting shadows like a paper doily on my skin. The soothing sound of water bubbled from the fountain and the serenity of the abode was in stark contrast to the chaos of the market we’d been in the day before.
I could’ve spent every meal in Morocco at that market. Cauldrons of snails bubbled in broth, sending a woodsy aroma through the air. Roasted sheep’s heads lay in wait of adventurous eaters. Carts heaped with dates, apricots, and figs sat beside mountains of almonds and walnuts. Snake charmers lulled both serpent and audience with haunting melodies, while fire-eaters rallied the crowds with daredevil performances. Almond-eyed boys led monkeys through the square and the small hennaed hands of young girls begged for coins. The market was alive with mystery.
But I wanted more than taste the spiced foods of Marrakesh. I wanted to learn to make them. That’s where Abdelwahed, the cook at the Riad, came in.