Friday, May 23, 2014

a surprise Ethiopian lunch

Today Eneye, Zalalem and Teklu surprised us by preparing a traditional Ethiopian meal complete with a coffee ceremony for lunch.  Justin and I were so touched.  Teklu brought in a traditional grass to decorate the ground where the coffee is roasted.  Eneye made popcorn which traditionally accompanies the coffee.  For lunch we had injera, rosemary beef tibs and siga wat.  Eneye is a very good cook.  She's taught me a few dishes and I've made them but she generally doesn't cook for us.  When she does, it's a treat.
We all sat outside and ate and when the meal was finished the real fun started.  An Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a production.  They revel in the process.  The coals are heated, incense is burned, coffee beans are roasted slowly over the fire.  They are cooled and then hand ground with something like a mortar and pestal.  Water is heated in a clay pot over the coals and the freshly roasted and ground coffee is added.  The coffee boils and percolates.  Then the pot is allowed to sit and rest so the fine grounds sink to bottom.  It's served in tiny little cups with lots of sugar.  It's strong and always has a thickness to it.  It's really wonderful and uniquely Ethiopian.  Eneye performs the coffee ceremony every evening at her house.
We've had such a great time getting to know our Ethiopian family members over our time here.  They've become apart of the daily fabric of our lives.  Through Amharic and English (Justin speaking and translating the Amharic for me, we chatted about how much the girls have grown since we moved here and how fast it has all happened.
We laughed about George and how he's become a spoiled American dog.  He waited patiently by the plate of popcorn waiting for us to share with him and then stealing our chairs and curling up the minute any of us would stand up.  We learned that Zalalem takes his coffee like Bella, with heaping teaspoons of sugar.  Teklu jokes with him that he and Lucy are the same in that they are always napping.  Eneye worked away at the coffee, waving a little piece of cardboard at the coals to keep them hot.  It was such a nice experience to sit and watch it happen in all it's methodical slowness.  I asked her a few times how she knew that it's been percolating long enough, or how long to let it sit and rest.  She sort of shrugged her shoulders because it's not something she times, the coffee ceremony process is ingrained in her because she's been doing it for her entire life.  She just knows when it's ready.  Zalalem calls it a "wise guess".

You drink Ethiopian coffee a small cup with a saucer and then wait for the next pot of coffee to boil, we did this for about three rounds of coffee.  All told, the ceremony took almost two hours.

Justin and I were so touched that they cared enough to give us this gift.  We will miss them very much.


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