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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dinner Time in Ethiopia

 Last night I joined a wonderful group of teachers for a traditional Ethiopian dinner at

What an experience! We all sat in a large room, adjoined by Ethiopian families with children in all sizes. The small tables were like woven baskets with beautiful designs and a round, wooden table top. 

Before eating, a waiter came by with an ingenious tin jug of water, soap and a basin that catches the waste water. He offered this to each of us to wash our hands. An important move since the entire meal is eaten with the right hand.

A large round platter of food was placed on each small table - serving 3 or 4 people. We each received injera, a very thin rolled up ‘bread’ that looks exactly like a tea towel, and is just as soft and pliable. You use your right hand to pull off a piece and then you use the injera to pick up a little bit of food.  

Colourful patches of food, displayed in a palette of colours - 
  • minced beef with capers;
  • Gomen Kitfo - local cabbage with cottage cheese
  • tikur
  • fento
  • zemamujet (cheese with cabbage)
  • kocho (bread wrapped in banana leaf)
  • gored gored (beef)
  • yellow peas mashed with meat 
Much of it was very spicy, other things were smooth and mild. I think I tried them all… And I did need my lemon flavoured Ambo to put out a fire once in awhile…

While we ate, young men and women played interesting instruments on a stage and danced… and danced… and danced. I don’t know how they kept going all night. Using head and shoulder movements, they kicked up a storm showing us traditional dances, some with spears, from around Ethiopia, including this bizarre head twirling dance that makes you sick just watching it. You can watch it here:   
I think it was filmed in the same restaurant I was at. 

After eating, we all washed our hands again and were served coffee that was prepared in the same ceremony as I described a few days ago - the beans roasted right there and ground by hand with a pestle. It was served with fresh pop corn and plenty of incense - the smell of coffee mingled with that of the frankincense sprinkled liberally on glowing coals in small stone pots on each table.

A fabulous, rich experience. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by kind, smiling Ethiopians and such hospitable hosts here.       

Amesege’nallo' everyone!

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