On the end wall as you walked in there was a huge rectangular abstract painting that dripped thick with red, white and green pigment and which had pieces of bark and other salvaged timber as well as metal piping and coloured glass bolted to it. Serge’s chess table was in the corner next to the artwork and it became my habit to sit beside it. By the time I was saying goodbye to Souk I’d made hundreds of little puncture marks in the canvas with tooth picks and had signed the bottom edge more than twenty times with a medium rollerball. The main bar ran the length of the longest wall and faced out onto the longest window. High in the far corner a flat-screen played pop videos with the sound turned down. The dining tables were arranged like a canteen, butted together end-to-end in long rectangles with long benches to go with them. In this way, being at Souk threw people together, like it or not. At certain times of the day the place was a hangout rather than the regular restaurant it became for lunch and dinner when they served ‘fusion foods of the world.’ Tagine of Lamb with cous cous was one of my favourites along with a dessert called fruit soup which consisted of mixed berries with grilled marzipan on top. It was an expensive dish, that, so I got an arrangement going with Aaban – he would smuggle me into the kitchen to clean up the last portions from the tray in exchange for me teaching him English swearwords, disses, and any other foul expressions I could call to mind.

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6 Responses to Extract

  1. makemeadiva says:

    Morrocans speak with a bit of rhotic accent like some of the Scots. I know a man Said, and if I want to smile I ask him to say the Arabic word for donkey which involves a lot of throaty rolling of the “rrrs”.

    I know this sounds a bit dodge, but it is perfectly above board and he knows he is humouring me because I try to say it too and I can’t and then he laughs at me. Of course this has nothing to do with the extract, except it made me think of it. Fruit Soup sounds nice. I’d prefer the Tagine without the cous cous please.

    Scribbling on the art is memorable.

  2. makemeadiva says:


  3. calvininjax says:

    As a former marzipan addict, Americans don’t do marzipan — at least as far as I am aware — the Fruit Soup does sound delicious.

    Any chance of you sending me a bowl as an e-mail attachment? 😉

    Oh, and a delightful well written piece of prose.

  4. markelt says:

    Apropos of nothing much, I dished up a nice lamb tagine with cous cous to Bilbo when he was up a couple of weeks back.

  5. Stephen Foster says:

    Thanks Calvin

    You can make your own marzipan. Ground almonds sugar and eggs, is it?

  6. Stephen Foster says:

    Did you serve it with oven chips?

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