Just wanted to let you guys know how we're celebrating our christmas in Morocco.
step one, cookies.
Yesterday, Christmas eve, we (me and some of my female relatives here), baked three different types of Christmas cookies; chocolate chunk with crushed candy canes, peanut butter oatmeal (not too much oatmeal), and gingerbread cookies :) All in all, it kinda turned out to be a culinary catastrophe. Jon was no help at all, but was able to coordinate the "tree" decorating. With our two younger sisters and cousin they strung popcorn and made paper snowflakes, which where taped to the tree (pictures later). Meanwhile, in my limited vocabulary and even more limited cooking ability, I struggled through making cookies with nothing to measure with, limited directions (we didn't even have directions for the gingerbread at all), and no temperature control for the oven. I think i was starting to catch on by the third batch and it wouldn't have been so bad if i could have made all these mistakes in the privacy of my own kitchen. but our Moroccan family was very encouraging, kinda in the way you encourage a five year old when doing something for the first time. So all the cookies are hard as rocks, but tasty just the same...they are good dunked in tea. One of my mistakes was the sugar...way too much, but that's not really a problem here in my opinion. we also introduced things that the Moroccans found very strange for treats...like ginger and nutmeg. Also, there is no molasses in Morocco, so we used this caramel stuff, not a bad substitute. I will begin my intensive cookie-baking training with Mom and Grandma as soon as I return to the states. But before that, i hope to pick up a thing or two from my host mom (like making her amazing bread) and Lisa, the nearby volunteer and culinary master.
Step two; stockings.
so late last night we told our family about "papa noel" and the tradition of hanging up our sock over the window (no fireplaces here folks). Jon and I demonstrated by draping our socks over the curtain rod. Unfortunately our family didn't follow, until after we turned in for the night. Around midnight we gathered the socks and tried to figure out whose was whose....which we where wrong. we got our bothers' sock mixed up with our Moms' and the two girls where mixed up as well...oops. but besides that, the stockings where a big hit.
Step three, presents.
throught the months of november and december i have been making presents for my family here: a wool bag for our mom, scarf for our brother, funny slippers for one sister, and a headband for our other sister. yesterday morning we wrapped them in newsprint, which we decorated ourselves. Those too where a hit. so I guess two out of three isn't bad.
All in all it hasn't been a bad Christmas experience. We're looking forward to a call from my parents this evening and we'll probably take a walk later, I hope. Thankfully I got my wish, which was to NOT have a white Christmas this year! Merry Christmas everyone!
ps here are some pictures
Our delicious Christmas bricks!