For all you hard core Casablanca fans out there, you’ll recognize that the proper quote is not “Play it again, Sam”, but in fact, “Play it, Sam…Play “As Time Goes By.” but like the rest of Hollywood history, things get misconstrued over time. What isn’t lost however is Morocco, and all it’s wonderful tastes, flavours and spices. For us North Americans, the sight and sounds of North Africa are a treat to behold. the market places teeming with spices in every colour of the rainbow, the strange and unusual crockery, like a tagine. For a foodie, it’s pure joy! So this week, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is going to be Moroccan Week! Each day we’ll delve into a different course, from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. Today’s recipes come from Mrs. Outmezgine, an old Sephardi neighbour who would make these individual cigars and pastilles for family functions. She would usually serve them along with some homemade matbucha or even just a drizzle of techina. Either way, I’m sure Bogie would agree and say “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”
This New Year, I will be celebrating away from my home and family for only the second time in my life. It only becomes stranger when I realize that the way I do something, the way my family does it, isn’t necessarily the way everyone else does it. You think this would have dawned on me before it was less than a week until the Holidays! That started me thinking about Jewish New Year traditions all over the world. Between the two main branches of Ashkanazi (most North American Jews and those of European descent) and Sephardi (those Jews descending from the Middle East and Africa), there are vast differences. Even within these two groups though you have so many individual traditions, just related to the food portion alone! Some people don’t eat anything sour, such a pickles or lemons, so that they won’t have a sour year. Some stay away from spicy foods, others from foods that make you drowsy, so that you don’t sleep through the New Year. The important part to remember is that while we are all different, at the core, we are all the same, and we all need to eat! This year, try thinking outside the box and making that Sephardi brisket you read about? Or some Ashkanazi salt & pepper gefilte fish.. who knows, you just might like it!