Monday, February 22, 2010

Never Stop Trying

Magnet # 175: Moroccan Tagine

Material: Plastic

Purchased By: Mom & Dad

This weekend, I tried a couple new activities I'd never done before, and I definitely had fun. I decided to post this magnet from Morocco because both experiences are something you might undergo in with that particular country.

For starters, I prepared a traditional Middle Eastern dish for the first time, although it's not one you'd use a tagine cooker, like the one depicted on this magnet, to make. I tried making hummus, and I was pleased with the results. If you've never heard of it before, hummus is a dish made with mashed up chickpeas and sesame seeds that is usually seasoned with herbs and spices. It might not sound tasty, but it really is and it's been popular for thousands of years. It's often used as a dip and is served with items like pita bread and vegetables. It's much healthier than many other dips and has plenty of vitamin C, iron, protein and fiber. For awhile, I had been buying a particular brand of pine nut hummus from a local grocery store, but they stopped carrying it and I couldn't find any other brands I liked as much. So my parents bought a mini food chopper on their last visit and I gave it a try. I found a recipe for pine nut hummus on the Internet, bought the necessary ingredients, and started processing. I was pleased with the taste, but I think I'll need to work on the texture. I think I may make quite a few batches of hummus before I get my own personal recipe right, but I'm ok with that - as far as I'm concerned, I can never try too much hummus.

I made the hummus to take to the other event I had never tried before - a henna tattoo party. The tradition of decorating the body with henna dye dates all the way back to the end of the Bronze Age, and it's experienced a resurgence in recent years. As opposed to ink tattoos, these are not at all painful and are only temporary - at most, they'll last a couple of weeks.  I had an experienced henna artist paint my tattoo, and she used a bottle that's like the fabric paint bottles they sell in craft stores.  The paint dried on my skin, then flaked off, leaving a trail of dye behind.  I got a phoenix firebird on my inner arm that extends from about my wrist all the way to nearly my elbow, and it's pretty cool.  The color is a kind of goldenrod, and I'm looking forward to having it for a little while.  And everyone at the party really liked my first attempt a making hummus - one person even asked for the recipe!

If you've never tried hummus or a henna tattoo, you might want to give either - or both - a try.  You can sample hummus at quite a few restaurants that have Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, or even buy some at the grocery store.  And if you find you like it, you can always try making your own by looking online for recipes.  It might be a little tougher to find someone who could give you a henna tattoo, but you might be able to find a henna artist on the Internet.  In any event, if there's something you've been thinking about trying for the first time, make plans to do so.  There are so many neat experiences out there to try, and no good excuses for never doing so.