Play It Again, Sam!


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By Gini Rainey

A lot has been going on in our world this past week.  Some of it has not too terribly pretty.  Sometimes it’s difficult to look past this messy life of ours and find the beauty of our home called Earth and as a result of all this messiness, I find it hard to find much inspiration.  Initially we were wondering which world power would decide to blow us off the face of this Earth, but it would seem that we are doing a mighty good job of trying to destroy ourselves from within.  It would seem that there are a lot of folks who feel the best way to move forward is to disregard the past that got us all to this point in time.  Instead of trying to learn from that history and try not to repeat it, it would seem a lot of folks just want to erase and forget.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the way to honestly move forward.

How can she tie this into a cookbook review, they say.  Well, The Casablanca Cookbook references a lot of things from the movie of the same name, which drew it strength of popularity from its perfectly timed release that followed, by just a few
short weeks, the Allied invasion of North Africa.  While many films about war were released during that time period, Casablanca went on to win three Academy Awards because of its compelling plot, cast of all-stars, memorable lines, and pervasive theme song.

While this cookbook isn’t very big, Sarah key, Jennifer Newman Brazil, and Vicki Wells managed to pack some interesting recipes along with great black and white photos and trivia into their 44 page book that was published in 1992 by Abbeville Press Publishers.  Filled with recipes that have a Moroccan flair, you’ll be able to cook up a meal like they served at Rick’s and savor a flavor straight out of the Kasbah.  The adult beverage recipes in this book seem to out-weigh the others, but after all, Rick’s was one smoke-filled, bar-type restaurant, so it stands to reason.  From a “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” Champagne Cocktail straight through to the “As Time Goes By” Preserved Lemon Cookies, you should be able to get your nostalgia juices flowing enough to maybe pop in the movie while you cook a meal of Couscous Marocain and sip a “We’ll Always Have Paris” Preserved Lemon Martini.

To make your own supply of Preserved Lemons, use this recipe.  Starting with 4 thin-skinned, small lemons (or limes), slice thin, or in wedges.  In a 1-quart jar, layer the lemons alternately with 2 cups sugar to fill jar.  Seal the jar with an airtight lid.  By the following day, they should have produced enough liquid to cover the lemons.  If not, add more sugar.  Do not add water.  Let sit in a cool, dry spot for 2 weeks.  After 2 weeks, the lemons are ready to use.  Refrigerate at this point to store up to 6 months.  These are great for garnishing sweet drinks and desserts.  If you are a martini drinker, you can use the same recipe, only substitute salt for the sugar.  Oh, and by the way, Bogart did not say “Play it again, Sam.” What he said was “You played it for her, you can play it for me…If she can stand it, I can. Play it!”

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