All Articles

Moroccan Stew | Orange | Soul’s Braille

This isn’t a Martha Stewart tip on ethnic food styles or the story of orange or new age interpretation’s of the human soul. (Oh, but if I were queen of the world and had that kind of all powerful credibility, who knows)? No, this is more stream of consciousness goop–a thumbprint of a busy, slightly mischievious redhead contemplating change, in a season of change.

I was on this fabulous mountain bike ride this morning, dreaming of the Moroccan Stew I would make today and how expensive saffron is–how Moroccan Stew has every fall color in it. And how I would never know anything about it if not for my Around The World Cooking Parties some years back when we made a new meal a week from a different country.
And then this little squirrel ran out in front of me, stopped, looked at me, looked at the big nut in it’s paws and ran looking to bury it quick. It probably thought I would take it and use it in the stew. Animals have this infrared beam on our thoughts. It’s a little unnerving.

That got me to thinking about how I was already organizing all the containers of my life for fall. How everything from work, to writing, to painting to men to cooking, to new friends, to old friends, to favorite cafes, and using my cell phone as my project manager of life…etc. etc. would all work together to create the perfect me. How boring is that? It seems fall is not only for canning peaches but for canning how to live and feel as well. I wondered if anyone else does this? Is a natural transitional vice or virtue? I wonder if we lived in a mud hut as my friend in Taos is intending to do this winter if we be burying our food for refrigeration and growing our own Saffron for the stew, never mind giving up the cell phone as project manager. I’m a ways away from that kind of letting go.

Back to Moroccan Stew. So orange and red/brown and mysterious in flavor. The braille of a foreign land — the stories and secrets seem to be stewing in there (pun intended).

I just can’t eat it and not feel a little wild.
I think of fall as this kind of inner braille. All our priorities for the year and the things we regret not doing in the summer, our joys, grievances as a year is ending all seem to culminate and surface in the fall.

I doubt this will be a fall of canned words, and calculated ways of living. Things are breaking up, change is a foot.
I think it may be a fall where I’m a little terrified that people will see the sauce from the stew on my shirt because I’m enjoying it just a little too much. That laughter will come spilling out in really untimely moments. That professional scripts that have kept me up for over a decade will begin to erode as new business and design passions lead the imagination.

As I traveled the soft dirt paths on the bike I also thought about all the 911 retakes I’ve watched over the past 2 weeks. And how a little instinct could go a long way at this point in our history. As our world continues to not get less scary politically and more chaotic, designs for how to live make less and less sense and a little wildness could be the beginning of real action–a revival of instinct. Could letting go of how we think we’re supposed to live be the beginning of the kind of wild that is practical and sensible for all concerned? Could wild be the new sensible?

Back to the stew again. I know that I’ll be serving it up as often as possible this winter. I think the secret ingredient is the saffron. So foreign, red and full of earthy flavor–it’s hard to think of much else but the warm comfort of it.

I’ll skip the canning this year, at least of anything other than berries, that is.

–Dakota glared at me as I wrote this. He doesn’t like the word ‘stew’. .


Trackback URL:


  • Ben Garlow on Sep 22, 2006 Reply

    You forgot yellow in your fall palette. But who am I to judge. Hmmm, me. Have you tried squirrel, basted in butter and sage; Keeping it rare to the touch…smells a bit like a burnt rubber product, but hey…earthy. I’ve begun storing nuts in my pants, which draws lots of attention, but the stains are atrocious. Your point is well taken…another season of change is upon us, and licking the remains of a meal well prepared off the shirt/blouse of the cook is worth stewing over. Sorry, love ya Piquante

  • David B. Leikam on Sep 18, 2006 Reply

    I love you Niya, perhaps not in the traditional marriage way but we’ll see down the road. I do love your pressence, laugh, red hair, words, visions, thoughts, ideas, adjectives, cooking, Morocco, art, …
    Sounds like fall is slipping in well where you are and the berries are good. In transition, on a rooftop, looking around the terrain, where I will go, to settle in and cook my own meals with herbs and licorice hanging down.
    Well, I always love reading you Niya and your new being as so. Take care and perhaps we will give hugs to each other soon.
    ciao, David

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.