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July 9, 2008 Tigni

My little host sister and little cousin just came in, shouting that it’s raining outside (which I know, since I’ve been listening to it for the past half hour). Cuz was holding a handful of what looked like those chubby pretzel bites you sometimes find. That excited me – I’ve never seen pretzels in Morocco (though admittedly I didn’t look for them at Marjane) – and I asked what they were. “Tigni,” said my cousin. The word sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember it, so that didn’t really help. I popped one in my mouth, and discovered that it was a date. That’s when I recognized the word – they use the same word to refer to whole dates, like these, or a mashed-up concoction of dates and raisins (zbib, but pronounce it carefully – the first syllable is a profanity).

When my sis and cuz saw me chewing a date whole, their eyes bugged out. They began exclaiming, in overlapping voices, that I needed to be careful. I didn’t recognize the word they were using for the threat I faced, but quickly figured out that they meant the date pit, which is about the size and shape of a peanut, and hard as a rock. These girls (and presumably most Moroccans) bite dates in half, pick out the pit, and then eat the second half. They were alarmed lest I crack a tooth or otherwise harm myself with my tigni snack. :)

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps