A Taste of Morocco

A gathering of friends around for dinner gave me an opportunity to cook Moroccan. I have 2 tagines, 2 cook books and 2 Fez hats. Because I like colour, I decided to decorate the chairs and table outdoors and enjoy the full moon in the cool of the evening. There’s always some spice to taste when chicken is soaked in lemons and green olives, sprinkled with ground ginger, cumin and cinnamon. And sweet potato and pumpkin are cooking in dates and coriander.



My guests were both local friends from Mapleton and special friends up from Brisbane. Ones who had lived in Sydney and left for the Hinterland; others who are travelling and retiring to the pretty Gerringong not far from Sydney. And ones who have hiked the trails of the Sunshine Coast, volunteered hours in the library and Men’s shed and are about to embark on a China tour bird watching.

Our conversations varied from grand children, a baby only 5 weeks old to a fifteen year old who lives in Barcelona. Conversations that brought laughs and laughter about people, habits, jobs, aging well, doggy tales, travel stories, the garden, writing a book etc. It got me thinking a lot about the art of conversation. The manner in which we speak to one another. The cues, hand gestures, facial expressions and sounds. The beginning of sentences and the end of sentences. The reading between the lines. The funny stories and shared giggles. Eye contact and understanding. Because it rained at the last moment, my outdoor venue changed. We all scrambled inside carrying the bright cushions, throws and tablecloth.

In one way it allowed us all to be more intimate around the dining room table even if the golden moon was missing. The conversations began about travelling – China, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, East Africa ; the men cracked a few jokes while the women added their feminine slant. Music and theatre . Words rolled out. We sat, ate and listened to stories and asked questions. Wine was sipped.


Some of my friends are natural storytellers. Others bounce off the other or embellish a part. There was a story about aircraft travelling and its safety; book talks and recommendations; how to publish a best seller; renovating; kid’s parties, concerts and more.


I wonder in our busy frantic, digital world whether families, couples, children are making time for decent and real conversations where we are both vulnerable, sensitive and observant. I wonder whether we honestly take the time to remember what people are doing, commenting to them about their interests, ideas and struggles?

A little conversation my three year old grandson had with me in his sandpit went like this,

Grandma – I’ve just been bitten by ants!

Child – Grandma, do you want a band aid?

Grandma – No I,m Ok. It’s not hurting that much. Have you got any ouchies?

Child – Yes, one here ( he points to his toe) one here ( he points to his ankle), one here ( he shows me his forehead)

Grandma – You’re a great digger!

Child – I can put all the sand in this pile. Now here’s a big hole.

Grandma – Keep digging. Good boy.


Have you met up with some amazing friends lately and had a great conversation? Share a part of this with me and how did it go?

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M.J. Gibbs
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