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An eye-witness account of the end of an era, 1896-98 consisting of two books by Alexander Bulatovich:
From Entotto to the River Baro (1897)
With the Armies of Menelik II (1900)
Translated by Richard Seltzer, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.samizdat.com
Copyright 1993 by Richard Seltzer
Email us for listing of your establishment!"Ethiopian food could vanish from the face of the earth and we'd all be better off. I was induced to visit an Ethiopian restaurant once by friends who obviously bore some sort of ill feeling against me. This restaurant was not like the expensive Ethiopian restaurants in Georgetown that cater to Americans. The restaurant was authentic Ethiopian: the name was spelled in characters we couldn't pronounce, none of the staff spoke English, the menu had no correlation to the food available, and ordering was achieved via pantomime. "Wallia" was the spoken name of this culinary disaster, but in print, the name looked more like "Pez." Tom, who had previously dined at Wallia, managed to communicate to our waittress that we wanted a four-person variety platter. No such dish was on the menu, but Tom indicated that one couldn't order anything from the menu anyway. Water appeared to be the only available beverage. Some time later, a large round board arrived. The board was covered in a queer, rubbery bread. Thin, stretchy and pock-marked, it reminded us strongly of skin and was quickly dubbed "skin bread". Arranged on this disturbing dough were dollops of substances meant to be wrapped in chunks of skin bread and consumed like baby burritos. There were cold mushy green piles, blazingly spicy red and brown piles and tasteless yellow piles. I had the misfortune to sample a pile of fire. I tried to subdue my burning mouth tissue with skin bread and gruesome bits of cold, mushy piles to no avail. When further application of mush and water did not soothe the blaze in my mouth, Tom endeavored to order a glass of milk. The poor waitress had no idea what ? milk? meant, and, without resorting to lewd gestures, Tom couldn't pantomime it. After much frowning, the waitress sent a patron over to find out what we wanted. In the only success of the evening, a glass of milk was forthcoming. This scourge should be eliminated before more hapless diners lose their sense of taste to a pile of fiery mush. narfle.com email@example.com"
new: Ethiopia, the Unknown Land: A Cultural and Historical Guide + Black Women in Antiquity (Journal of African Civilizations ; V. 6) + People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 1800-1990 + Eritrea and Ethiopia: From Conflict to Cooperation + Survival and Modernization, Ethiopia's Enigmatic Present: A Philosophical Discourse + Ethiopia: Breaking New Ground (Oxfam Country Profiles Series) + A Saint and His Lion: The Story of Tekla of Ethiopia
Main URLs: ethiolink.com, ethiomerkato.com, ethiogift.com, ethiopiadaily.com (commercial).
Photos -- pix directory.
List: rest.html * biblio.html * books * links *
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The Ethiopian Food Fast Lane - Brief Article - Recipe
Vegetarian Journal, Nov, 2000 by Larry Litt
Despite droughts, famines, and wars, Ethiopians have always observed their sacred fasting days. Fasting in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church means doing without meat or dairy products for a given period of time, from one day to the 55 days of the Lenten season. In the old Julian calendar, which Ethiopia's ancient church observes, there are over 200 days when only vegetarian foods are prepared and served in homes, schools, the military, and restaurants.
The custom of fasting comes directly from The Orit, the Old and New Testaments written in Ge'ez, the ancient language of historical Abyssinia, Kush, and Saba, now unified Ethiopia. As with most fasting rituals in many religions, purification and a sense of divinity are the goals to be achieved through ascetic eating. The body is transformed into a non-polluted temple, since it contains no rotting flesh on fast days. This brings fasters closer to the divine because they are sin-free, free of the deaths and ingestion of animals. This ancient idea has manifested itself throughout human religion, beginning in the West with Pythagoras' non-animal sacrifices at the Greek temples.
At a recent Lenten fast day meal in Addis Ababa, I ate gogo, a barley bread that has the consistency of a thick pancake. It was prepared fresh in the morning in a clay oven, somewhat as chappati is from the Indian subcontinent.
The meal consisted of five colorful vegetarian dipping pastes spread over a layer of gogo, on a single large painted metal tray. Everyone at the table shared from the tray. We ate with our just-washed hands.
Because many varieties of dried beans are donated as food aid from the World Food Program, this meal was heavy on fava beans, split peas, and lentils. Fortunately, these are all Ethiopian staples in times of abundance.
When there's a drought, arable land is used to grow teff plants for injera flour. "This is our national identity and favorite bread. Along with coffee, we need these plants to be Ethiopians," Habtamu Bekele, our guide, said proudly. "We can buy food from around the world as long as we can sell coffee. And during droughts much food is donated. We are lucky there is so much extra in the world right now."
In cities and the countryside, the number of food distribution centers keeps growing. Nonetheless, Ethiopia is attempting to enter the world tourism game as a low-cost destination. It's a beautiful and historic country filled with fantastic, magical sights and wonders, both ancient and modern.
For me there is always the reality of economic contrasts and struggles for survival. It's part of my journalistic training and thinking; it can't be avoided. There's enough wealth in Ethiopia for Addis Ababa to have both Hilton and Sheraton premium luxury hotels, each with four or five restaurants serving highly prepared international cuisines, along with traditional Ethiopian dishes.
But when I walked outside the gated, heavily guarded grounds of these hotels, I was stricken by the evidence of the ravages of poverty, disease, and prolonged war on the neighboring streets. Some Ethiopian political pundits believe the recent war with Eritrea was prolonged due to the abundance of international food aid, leaving the government to use its funds for military purposes.
"You must understand, these luxury hotels exist to attract business people to my country so we can build a new economy and share in the wealth of the world," says Habtamu. "We have everything to offer, if only God and Nature will cooperate with a little more rain."
Packaged dried stinging nettle leaves are available in the herbal section of most well-stocked organic food groceries. You can also use watercress.
2 pounds reconstituted or fresh stinging nettle leaves 1 cup barley powder 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic Salt to tastePlace nettle leaves in a sieve and run boiling water over them until saturated and cooked. Press and drain fully. The leaves will look like steamed, wilted lettuce. Let cool, remove to a cutting board, and chop coarsely. In a bowl, mix the barley powder and nettles with a bit of warm water until you have a thin mixture. Stir in the minced garlic. Slowly pour the mix into a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring to prevent lumping and burning. Add salt to taste. Pour into a serving bowl, let cool, and serve at room temperature. Great with warm bread.
Note: Barley powder is very fine milled barley flour.
* Nutritional analysis not available
Here's a perfect way to use a botched Jack o'lantern: cube the flesh to prepare this perfect sweet and spicy late-autumn stew.
1 cup chopped yellow onions 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon pressed fresh garlic 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger root 2 cups water 4 cups cubed fresh pumpkin 3-5 fresh green chilis, seeded and minced Salt to tasteIn a saucepan over medium-low heat, saute the onions with a little water to prevent sticking. Add turmeric and coat onions. Add garlic and ginger and enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin cubes and cook for 15 minutes until tender. Add the chilis and cook 5 more minutes, mixing well. Remove from heat and serve hot or cold, with bread for dipping.
Total calories per serving: 44 Carbohydrates: 10 grams Sodium: 4 milligrams Fat: 0 grams Protein: 2 grams Fiber: 3 grams
Awaze sauce is available in African groceries, but if you can't locate it, any red pepper hot sauce, such as salsa picante or harissa, is a good substitute.
4 cups whole wheat flour 5 quarts water Salt to taste 1 1/2 cups split lava beansCombine wheat flour and water in a large pot, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add salt and split fava beans and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove from heat and serve as a dip with hot red peppers or awaze pepper paste.
Total calories per serving: 290 Carbohydrates: 61 grams Sodium: 18 milligrams Fat: 2 grams Protein: 12 grams Fiber: 11 grams
1 1/2 cups washed green lentils
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3-5 green chili peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups chopped red onions
1 Tablespoon English hot mustard (comes in powder form and is very hot!!)
1 cup hot water
Boil the lentils in 3 to 4 cups water for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain, put in a mixing bowl, and mash with the rest of the ingredients. Adjust spices to taste.
Refrigerate for several hours until the flavors of spices, vegetables and lentils blend. Serve cold or at room temperature with bread, lettuce, and chopped tomatoes for sandwiches or dipping.
Total calories per serving: 206
Carbohydrates: 36 grams
Sodium: 9 milligrams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 15 grams
Fiber: 16 grams
One of the biggest joys in sharing an Ethiopian meal is the communal eating. Instead of using knives and forks, Ethiopians use this bread to scoop up dips and stews.
1 pound barley flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups water
Salt to taste
Place barley flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water a bit at a time. Knead for three minutes. Spread a coating of flour on a baking pan. With slightly oiled hands, place the dough on the baking pan. Pat into a circle about 1/2-inch thick.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for a minimum of 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Check with a fork every five minutes until dry and cooked all the way through.
Serve with dips. Total calories per serving: 227 Carbohydrates: 58 grams Sodium: 2 milligrams Fat: 1 gram Protein: 9 grams Fiber: 9 grams YETELBA LIKUT (FLAXSEED PASTE)(Approx. eight 1 1/2 Tablespoon servings)
Frozen, this peanut-butter-like spread will keep indefinitely and refrigerated, it will keep for about a month.
1 cup flax seeds 1/2 cup water In a pan over low heat, roast the flax seeds until they're golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. When cool, grind seeds into a fine powder. Slowly add water to the flax powder until it is a spreadable paste. Refrigerate in a jar. Total calories per serving: 48 Carbohydrates: 3 grams Sodium: 4 milligrams Fat: 3 grams Protein: 2 grams Fiber: 3 grams
Larry Litt is a freelance food and travel writer who specializes in the cultural and political contexts of food, rituals, and history
COPYRIGHT 2000 Vegetarian Resource Group
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group
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