Meal Preparation

Meal preparation for a major undertaking in an Ethiopian household.Most homes are a compound/gated home, so there’s only so much space!The 150 guests are ciphered into two sets of invitation times.
The preparation begins with whose coming, whose favorite food/drink is what. Next up, a trek to Shoa market, a smaller version of the expansive Merkato- the largest open air market in all of Africa.It’s rainy season, so the exposed parts of the market are muddy, as it rains ever 30 min or so.

Mom negotiates for kaffa {insert correct word} essentially a one year old banana tree base that’s been wrapped intricately in palm leaves- that she’ll use for a bread that famously accompanies Kitfo.

Back at the ranch, many weathered-hands cut, chopped, scrubbed, assembled, and boiled the fresh meats and veggies. Being a ‘ferenji’ (foreign) wife, I still feel like a guest in my mother-in-laws house, and this year, I was determined to get my hands in the kitchen with the women-folk. I’m of course watched closely when I dance and cook, can she do it like we can?!?!? Yes, and better!!! lol

So, Mom has like a million, like 35+sibilings, and lots of the sisters came to assist with the meal prep. I peek my head out of the kitchen to the outdoor kitchen where there are pots, lids, basins of chicken being washed, and hear “kuch bey” -sit down, so I a grab a low-seating stool, and begin with the 5 year old’s tasks….splitting the stem from the leaf of a collard.
I’m watched, and when I’ve pleased the Aunties, I am instructed (with visual gestures, as no one speaks English) to very finely peel and pull apart the stems of the greens leaf. Auntie hands be one stem at a time. Finally, ready to show her I’m all woman, I grab all the stems for the fine pulling.

Auntie: With a look of ‘oh yeah’?
Me: ‘yeah come for me’.

My work is inspected and joined with the lot, which is finely chopped by hand for no less than 30 min, into a delishily small bowl of greens gone in 30 seconds, accompanied by natural cheese.
Mom set some aside for her Muslim friends who were supposed to come, but that’s for another post. Basically the Muslims and Christians have a large divide in Ethiopia. Muslim won’t shake the hands of Christians, Chrisians/Muslims won’t eat the food each has prepared.

Mike, AT’s little brother is jonesing for us to come back. I guess when we’re there, the guest breakfast is rolled out, otherwise, it’s Firfir! 🙂
When AT and I are home in Ethiopia, we get enkulal(eggs) and asa (fish goulash), fir fir, the go to breakfast of Ethiopian Champions (injera with berbere wat), che chebsa (wheat wat), and bread and tea.
When we were (briefly, lol) dating, his mom came for a visit, and all we did was COOK! I learned to make all the traditional dishes I know from her. In my Alissa fashion, I’ve played with them a bit, with AT as my tasting guinea pig.
I had a gluten episode my first time visiting, so mom is exta paranoid about what I eat, she made me “Alissa Dabo” bread made of oats. 🙂 Gluten free and yummmoo with peanut butter and bananas

Just random thoughts/observations:

  • To be a donkey in Ethiopia is the worst caste to be. I hope they all chanted/prayed to be elevated in their next life.
  • Donkeys are the pick-up trucks of Ethiopia. It makes my stomah and heart hurt to see them. They are scarred from poor harnessing, and are constantly pushed past their capacity. I saw 1 ad for donkey sufferage, earging their owners to not abuse them past their capacity.
  • I saw a donkey with a broken leg stay in one spot under a bridge for 2 days….It was still there the morning we traveled to the airport my heart remained heavy, and thought would I want to be swiftly put out of my misery, or would I rather the last moments to reflect on my life, and hey, least I’m not pulling a ton of coal today!?
  • All of Africa is under lock and key/bars on the winow….I’ve felt so much kindness and see community, real community, but there’s still no trust?!
  • Warm showers are overrated!
  • Squat poopping is possibly the most natural posture for a movement, or I’ll keep telling myself that.
  • In asking for the discount for birth control, I was told it was once made scarce, for political reasons; to increase the number of votes for a particilar region of people. More people, more power, even though more mouths to feed and care for on limited resources, and small accommodations…all for a vote?!?! Mmm K
  • I wish I could undo all the Eterian/Ethiopian wars, so I can go to the beach. Africa Unite!

Home Sweet Home

Castles and Forts

God is in Ghana


  • Zerihun

    Good/Bad news, Ethiopia is going to start exporting donkeys to China 🙂

    September 7, 2016 at 8:04 am
    • maru.anteneh@gmail.com

      For real??

      October 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm