The Couscous Chronicles
Stories of Food, Love, and Donkeys from a Life between Cultures
Azzedine Downes moves between cultures, places, and time in this wryly comedic, at times mysterious, and always curious memoir of a lifelong nomad.
The best strategy was to drink tea, smile, and enjoy the frustration of not knowing where the story leads. If time is endless, why rush to the point of a story?
Now an international leader in the fight for animal welfare, Azzedine began his career as a volunteer teacher and later was appointed to leadership in the U.S. Peace Corps. An American Muslim with Irish roots, he’s a natural cultural shape-shifter, immersing himself in the cultures of Morocco, Eastern Europe, Northwest Africa, Israel and his native United States. Along the way he befriends the glue-sniffing shoemakers of Fez, becomes the de facto manager of a traveling break-dance troupe, dodges bullets on his daily commute, and finds himself cursed over a feast of couscous gone very, very wrong.
But his most powerful story recounts Azzedine’s marriage to an elusive girl from Tangiers. Arranged after only two meetings their love story ultimately spans continents and withstands language barriers, international intrigue, and one very antagonistic State Department bureaucrat.
A labyrinth of tales as complex as its namesake dish, The Couscous Chronicles is for anyone who believes that the only real failure is to remain unchanged and in place, that true love is always a blind leap, and that a good story over a cup of tea holds the power to change one’s destiny.