Friday, April 18, 2008

Food in Ethiopia

Cultural Lesson: Food
A Meal in EthiopiaA meal in Ethiopia is an experience. Like any other part of their culture, it is community oriented and relational! And it all revolves around injera. What is injera? It is the sourdough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia. It uses a grain called Tef, which is not found in the United States. Injera serves many purposes….not only is it consumed as part of the meal, it is also a "tablecloth" or plate, and an eating utensil. The injera is spread out on a mesob, a handmade wicker table/tray with a dome cover. The entire mesob of injera is covered with an assortment of individual stews and sauces, which contain meats, vegetables, and lentils (see picture!). Ethiopians are known to prepare the hottest and most peppery food in all of Africa, using what is called Ber-beri spice. To eat, you tear off a piece of injera roll and use it to grab your choice of food (feel free to mix)…then, put it all into your mouth! Everyone eats from the same table. Don't be surprised if the person sitting beside you wants to feed you…this is very cultural. The word belonging to this act is "Enibla" which means "let's eat together." When all the food and injera have been consumed, the meal is over! Of course, then comes coffee…

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