An indelible, delectable memory from my travels way back in 1973 comes to life in a new, much healthier incarnation. This quick-and-easy smoothie is a nondairy version of one I enjoyed many times at a “milk bar” in Marrakech. When you go to college in Europe (I was at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland) you can do things like take a train to Venice for the weekend, or drive to Morocco for spring break.
Back then, Morocco was a wild, fabulously exotic land with incomparable beauty, mystery and some of the most hospitable people on Earth. I had never been to a country where everything was unfamiliar—the language, the culture, the art and architecture, the food, the clothing, the religion, even the music! In my dreams for many years, I would be back there, wandering the souks, eating couscous, sipping mint tea on a rootfop, gazing across a heat-shimmering desert at the snow-capped Atlas mountains.
Mint is ubiquitous in Morocco, as whole leaves in the tea that is served in special glasses everywhere, as an ingredient in a number of dishes, and etherially, in the fresh, delectable aroma that seems to be wafting freely through the air wherever you go. There are many other wonderful smells in Morocco—from the food in particular—but without fail, a whiff of fresh mint instantly transports me back to that unforgettable time and place.