It all started in 1978, with two friends, two artists: Benaïssa and Melehi. One day, with their minds full of the surrounding colors – the Atlantic Ocean’s blue, the sun’s bright yellow, and the red ocher of the ancient fortress, they stared at the white walls of their old town as if they were a large, virgin canvas. But wasn’t the canvas too big for just the two of them? The two artists invited their artist friends from across the diverse and colorful world, and together, they painted the town. If you don’t believe this story, watch the video “The murals of Asilah“, or go to Asilah during summer and see the annual tradition of repainting the walls with your own eyes. If you’re an artist, you may well end up as one of Asilah’s guests who is generously offered a canvas – I mean, an historic old town wall – just for you.
And speaking of generous… Growing up in Morocco far from the sea, the only prepared but uncooked food I used to take to the community oven (ferran) was bread, cookies, and lamb. This is the first time I see fish on its way to the ferran, which of course makes sense in a coastal town like Asilah. This young gentleman was sorry that his fish was not yet baked, otherwise he would have shared some with us. I just love this town!
So we can’t have fish, but how about a snack? On-site roasted sunflower seeds that everyone calls “zeria“!
You have to master techniques not just to cook, but to eat as well, especially when you don’t have all your teeth! With some practice, you’ll be able to seperate the shell from the seed without putting the whole thing in your mouth, getting just a taste of sea salt as you crack the shell.
You can keep the warm seeds in their original paper cone, which is usually a used notebook page. Or, if you’re smart enough, you’ll pour them into your pocket, that way …
… you can keep your chest warm, and especially your hands free for playing games!