Friday, June 15, 2007

The Karma of Feline Philanthropy

Or what goes around, comes around.

It's pretty much common knowledge for the half-dozen or so faithful readers of this blog that I am, what is commonly termed, a 'cat person'. The more insightful individual undoubtedly came to this conclusion from my blog moniker, although this would not be wholly accurate: the 'cat' in my name refers only to my initials. I confess that I have always regretted that the 'A' in my middle name doesn't stand for something fittingly freakish like 'aardvark' rather than the simple one-syllable colourless little name given to 99.3% of Catholic girls in the mid to late 20th century (apologies to my eponymous niece). But my parents, it would seem, nonetheless had inadvertently blessed me by giving me a trinity of names whose initials spelled an animal that I was destined to identity with on some unwholesome level and ultimately to love.

It is safe to say that I go to bed every night thanking the members of every pantheon of every religious system that my middle names aren't Uma Naomi.

Banishing all thoughts of the acronym produced by the aforementioned middle names, why the photo of the donuts? Well, over the months, some of my detractors have lobbed venomous darts my way charging that I never say anything good about Morocco. And this being Couscous Friday - and since I hate couscous and cannot in good conscience praise its properties - I thought I would relate a little not negative, practically positive incident that transpired a few nights ago which involved the humble donut.

This is where I feebly attempt to redeem myself in the eyes of my critics ...

Let me
first say that Moroccan donuts - or sfenji - are quite simply manna from heaven. They can be purchased at greasy holes-in-the-wall in the medina - veritable fry-by's - and are cooked in trans-fat-happy vats of oil that could, in a single glance, clog the arteries of Jack LaLanne. As a vegetarian, if I came to learn that whole newborn calves were being deep-fried alive in the same oil, it would not dissuade me from eating them. (The donuts, not the calves. I do have some principles). Hot, greasy, and sugary, you can buy one for a few dirhams or a handful looped on piece of tied palm, creating an edible purse that could, in a heartbeat, out-vie a Hermès Birkin bag for my attention. The ones which I snapped in the above photo were awaiting my selection during a visit to the oft maligned Meknès last spring, and they did not disappoint. I went back for seconds. Quite frankly, how the innocuous little sfenji failed in their quest to become Morocco's iconic dish defies logic. Couscous! Pshaw! - cereal with gravy, it is.

Now the night before last was pretty much like every other night before last: I finished work at roughly the same time and, as is my habit, fed the neighbourhood cats on my walk home. But as I drew nearer to my apartment building, what did I see lying on the ground next to a shop wall but a plate of donuts! Just sitting there. Now I have no clue where you can buy fresh donuts in Agdal - if there is a sfenj-man here, I don't know of him (& I'd like to). Quite simply, I have never seen a plate of donuts left out on the street before: bread yes, couscous yes. But sfenji, never. Then I thought, it's really not unlike me feeding Rabat's cats. I routinely leave out little offerings of dry food to feed the city's felines, so maybe - just maybe - someone has left this plate of donuts out for me. Someone who knows that I love these sinfully celestial confections. Perhaps, in this unknowable cosmos of ours, I have my own me. (Which may or may not be a good thing.)

As I bent down to take a closer look I couldn't help but notice how warmly they glowed in the moonlight ... how fairy-sugary sparkly they were ... how absolutely tantalizing they were ... oh! how they beckoned ...

22 Comments:

Blogger taamarbuuta said...

Pardon my strong words, but fuck the critics! While your blog might give a bad impression of Morocco to people without a clue, for those of us IN Morocco, it rings a bell with nearly every post. I don't think I've ever read one that didn't ring true to me in some manner! (Ugh, enough with the ringing allusions already)

12:59 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Thanks for your encouraging words ... do love those donuts though.

1:03 PM  
Blogger THE NOURISHER said...

So...did you...?

1:43 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

That would be telling.

2:51 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

I'm sorry:

Who exactly was responsible for that bland, boring, one-syllable name?

I believe it might have been your brother, who lobbied hard to have you called Anne as a first name, and who happened to call his eldest that same name.

I like the name. Princess Anne (Audrey Hepburn's character) in Roman Holiday and all...

;-)

2:54 PM  
Blogger Morocco Time said...

Don't eat them, they were left by the djinns!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

With all due respect, it's not a name I would have lobbied hard for. Aardvark is vastly preferable. To each his or her own.

3:09 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

BTW, are those things as good as Tiny Tom's donuts at the CNE? The ones made by the machines with the automatic spatula that flips them in the hot oil?

THOSE are the best donuts I've ever tasted. If yours are better, then they must truly be heavenly.

Sorry if I like Anne. I know Aardvark would have been more interesting. Much like Aardvark Ratnick...

3:52 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

They are *as* good.

Why apologize for liking the name? Just because you saddled your sister with it ... At least it's a middle name. Hopefully your daughter, who has it as a first name, likes it more than I do.

4:00 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

I'm just glad that with given names with initials of FAT, I didn't choose Ronald or Raymond as my Confirmation name (which, for you non-christians in the crowd, would have made my initials FART)...

;-)

4:29 PM  
Blogger THE NOURISHER said...

So Knarf, I didn't think that Raymond or Ronald were exactly confirmation names. I want to point out here that I am not Roman Catholic - humddoola - but some of my best friends are: how liberal am I? What was your confirmation name? Was it Stephen - F.A.S.T.? What does the 'A' stand for?... Anne?

8:29 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Anne?!!! Bwhahahahahahaha!!

8:54 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

Nourisher:

The A is for Andrew.

And, for Roman Catholics, anyway, pretty much any saint can be used as a confirmation name. I chose St. Peter.

As far as I know (I guess I could Google it, but I'm too lazy), both Ronald and Raymond were saints in the Catholic church...

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Cath said...

FART's right.
Ronald and Raymond were boths saints ... despite Ronald being a lawyer.
(St. Ronald of The Oxymoron?)

11:46 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Is there a Saint Ralph?

11:48 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

Yes, he's the patron saint of mass transit...

11:56 AM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Cramden?

12:33 PM  
Blogger knarf said...

Exactly!

;-)

8:11 PM  
Blogger Najlae said...

there's actually a sfenji in a small street crossing avenue al abtal in agdal. but i don't know how good his sfenj are.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Najlae!!! Do you know which street? - even approximately?

11:09 PM  
Blogger Najlae said...

let me think: if you're coming from Badr mosque and going on Abtal towards Place Bourgogne, it should be on the second or third street on the left, in front of some patisserie, maybe a little in front of the secrétariat d'Etat à la Famille. I will check when i'm there and tell u.. :s (but again,i dont know how bad they are :p

4:09 PM  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

How bad can they be? I'll take a hike tomorrow. Thanks for the tip.

1:03 PM  

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