Finalist in the San Diego Book Awards June 2012
Mint Tea and Minarets:
A Banquet of Moroccan Memories
Read Reviews and Praise
Flip through 57-page excerpt
98 food and location shots
7.37 inches x 9.25 inches
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Praise for Mint Tea and Minarets
Dar Zitoun! The name alone hints at the mystery and history of Kitty Morse’s family riad (Moorish mansion). Hers is a life unlike any other, with rich tales of the Moroccan history of her fascinating family. Weaving lively characters with spectacular recipes of the region, Morse captivates readers with provocative memories and enticing dishes. A fascinating read.
— ANTONIA ALLEGRA, director, Symposium for Professional Food Writers
Kitty Morse's story is deliciously human — witty, warm and suspenseful — as complex and flavor-laden as a Moroccan tagine. The heart, soul and mouth of Morocco are all here, offered in full vibrant color by a native-born insider who takes us from kitchen to souk to courthouse in her Dickensian quest to save the heritage of her father's home. Even for the experienced traveler, this is a book that will drive you either to book a flight to Morocco right now — or at least run to the kitchen to cook a tagine.
— BETTY FUSSELL, author of My Kitchen Wars and Raising Steaks
Mint Tea and Minarets is a graceful and touching tale, not only of a life, but also of the complex shadings of life in Morocco that only one who has lived there (and speaks Arabic and French) can know. I love a book you can’t put down, and this is certainly one. It’s a treasure.
— DEBORAH MADISON, author of Local Flavors and other books
Behold, a singular structure soars above the banks of the Oum er-Rbia, Mother of Spring River, within the ramparts of the 16th century medina of Azemmour — Dar Zitoun, erstwhile “House of the Pasha.” Into her late father’s painstakingly restored riad, Moorish mansion, the author of Mint Tea and Minarets, an expert on Moroccan cuisine and heir to the property, warmly coaxes you. Generations of cooks and centuries of celebration there sweeten the invitation. Dar Zitoun has many delicious stories to tell.
An hour south of the author’s native Casablanca, scour the Azemmour souk for seasonal ingredients, then meet Dar Zitoun’s gifted cuisinier/gardien Bouchaïb to concoct aromatic tagines. In the footfall of her recently deceased father, the author uncovers the provenance of her culinary passion: Dar Zitoun was an ancient cooking school. Follow Kitty as she seeks out bibi beldi, free-range turkey, at a farm on the Doukkala plain and is instructed in falconry by Kwacem tribesmen, the only commoners authorized to capture and train the raptors. Frequent a local camel market and hunt for the source of the Oum er-Rbia in the High Atlas Mountains.
Having grown up in North Africa during the French Protectorate, a unique time in history, the author has a pied-noir’s rarified perspective. Fresh burdens as her father’s executor, including a marathon quest for the riad’s title through Morocco’s Byzantine legal system, help build an appetite, as do the family recipes that accompany the tales just told and the amusing cast of characters in this cultural mosaic that characterizes the northwest corner of Africa, Al Mahgreb Al Aqsa, Land Where the Sun Sets.