Sunday, September 19, 2010

Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year

The start of the New Year in Ethiopia was actually on September 11. Without getting into the logistics of their calendar, it is 2003 in Ethiopia. This year we overcame our slackness to celebrate not once, but twice with two different parties. Last weekend, we hosted the Ethiopian doctoral student who is Steve’s Amharic language tutor. He brought along another Ethiopian student who just arrived at UW. We also invited an Ethiopian family we met in the park a few weeks ago. They too are new to UW. Finally, our good friends from Kenya were able to come. Serving a traditional Ethiopian dinner to Ethiopians was a bit nerve wracking to say the least!

This Saturday we hosted four of the five Laramie families who have adopted from Ethiopia and one family in the process. We all know each other and get together with each other from time to time, but never as a group. There has always been talk of trying to get a regular gathering started so we used the New Year as our first attempt to do so. We really had a great time and agreement was reached to try to meet every few months. It is great for the kids to spend time together and for the adults to talk and compare notes about our experiences raising our children.

Steve cooked an amazing dinner. He brought home some Ethiopian spices in August and we mail ordered some additional spices and injera. We have given up making our own injera because we lack a proper pan and stove. It comes out too funky. Well, you just can’t serve Ethiopian food without injera so this creates a major problem. I have no idea why it took us so long to figure out that we could Fed Ex injera from an online source since we are big online shoppers. We now have 40 lbs of it in our freezer!

For those of you who have never eaten Ethiopian food, you should try it! It has amazing, rich flavors. Ethiopians love their spices so get ready. Not all of it is hot spicy, just spicy spicy if that makes sense. Our house smelled amazing the last two Saturdays with the stews cooking all day. Of course everything was vegetarian, à la Prager style.

Step one in cooking most Ethiopian dishes is to sauté a large amount of purple onion with Niter Kebbeh, a spiced butter, which Steve made earlier in the day.

This is the finished Yetakelt W'et (a spicy mixed vegetable stew). It was my favorite dish by far. It's full of potatoes, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, and spices.

The meal ready to eat. The menu included injera with vegetable stew, two different lentil dishes, and gomen (mixed greens), shiro (a thick sauce/stew made from chick pea flour), and Steve's version of aib (a homemade cheese). Our meal was served buffet style. Ethiopians are communal eaters. If you eat at an Ethiopian restaurant, your food will be served on top of the injera. You eat with your hands, using extra injera to scoop up the food. When the food is eaten off the top, you get to tear off pieces of the remaining injera. Below is a picture of a delicious vegetarian meal we were served in Ethiopia two years ago.

Thanks to all our friends who came to celebrate! Both nights were very special to Semira. She was so excited to eat traditional food and wear one of her dresses. She is such a proud little girl who beams from ear to ear when she and her country are celebrated.

1 comment:

  1. Now I feel badly that I haven't yet sent Steve the injera recipe I promised, but it sounds like you have plenty to last you for awhile. What a lovely description of your community!