One great thing to take home from Morocco for souvenir (and personal use) is spices. The spices are usually sold at open markets in open baskets and bins... usually piled up appealingly, as illustrated below.
Some info from a website called gapadventures: There is something called Ras al-hanut, or ‘best of the shop’ – a complex spice blend used in many Moroccan dishes. It’s subtly curry-like with a spicy yet floral fragrance and robust but not overpowering flavour. Spice shops often employ experts who create the mixture using their own secret recipe and up to twenty-seven different spices. The tough part is in getting the proportions right, as spices can vary in intensity and flavour depending on how old they are or where they came from. Putting in a pinch of this and a teaspoon of that just doesn’t give you world-class results. Side note: I was too lazy to dig through my pictures, so I plagiarized these from random websites.
As you can imagine, things bought from an open market in a third world country are sometimes risky. I've found my share of stowaways in pasta and spices... but never anything quite like what is described here in two emails from the SistersT... they explain it in general hilarity, as always.
September 24, 2007 -- email from FrancesM.
that huge bag of spices we brought back with us from morocco... yeah, they hatched last week. thousands of tiny black cock-roach looking bugs, that evidentlycan't live in our atmosphere, because they died right away. so strange. they straight up, war-of-the-worlds killed over. how's life in casa treating you? i hope you've been well, and make sure you boil everything before eating it!!
September 27, 2007 -- email from T.Jo
I dunno if Frances M mentioned it, but she brought back some tahjin spices in the spring and guess what? They hatched out!!! She warned me this weekend about them basically taking over one area of her kitchen and I happily rooted around until I found those spices. As luck would have it, my bugs were mostly dead--but maybe 20 or so were alive still and slowly crawling around--perfectly sealed in a Glad plastic bag. I felt that the Glad company really lived up to its name, just seeing all those bugs perfectly sealed up in there, unable to invade my sanity and sense of cleanliness. I have a feeling actually, that those were some kind of weevils. It was a bit of a weevil holocaust. There were hundreds who didn't make it (depending on how you define make it--they hatched all right, just didn't live very long, best I can tell--very glad I skipped the larvae stage!!!).
Just more protein, that's what I say.