Tag Archives | Ethiopia

The Mobile Store, or souk bederete.

Amharic is a great language methinks. Here is a word to remember: souk bederete. The direct translation of these words are “store on my chest” and refers to the people in Ethiopia who walk around trying to sell you chewing gum, fried dough or mobile cards more recently. A better way to think of it the souk bederete is as a mobile store.

Souk Chillin'

The art of shop keeping.

Well, these days, there are phone apps that allow you to process payments for goods you may sell on the road…the more things change, the more they are just the same right?

The Mighty Pumpkin

I am also not a pumpkin.

My two favorite times are Halloween (OMG!!!) and Thanksgiving.

What you will need:

• 3 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and cubed in small pieces

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 3 tomatoes, pureed

• 1/4 cup olive oil or any oil of your choice.

• 1-2 tablespoons berbere

After cubing the pumpkin and chopping the onions, puree the onions.

Fry the onions well and add the berbere once they cook. Pour the tomato puree as you mix the onions and berbere together. Add the cubed pumpkin and let it cook at medium raw. In about 20 minutes or so, make sure to check the mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom of your pan. When ready, the pumpkin will be soft.

Get the enjera ready.

about textiles

Have you engraved in your mind images of mothers, sisters and girls wearing that beautiful white dress with the colorful edges? This dignified wear, simple and clean looking outfit is usually hand women in a shemane’s home before it proceeds on to seamstresses and the like.

The weaver is called the shemane and many families in the past went to a particular shemane for clothing. Here is some information about the creation of textiles in Ethiopia:

Culturally, Ethiopians have it arranged so that weaving is carried out by men and men alone. Spinning the cotton is done by the ladies.

Looms are built by hand and are usually mobile. The Shemane takes it around when needed.

Ethiopian cotton is spun raw and is organic.

Sometimes, just sometimes, if you dig your nose into the fabric, you might just get a whiff of smoke, a “eucalyptusy” type scent.

The Bahir Zaf

Bahir Zaf is the Amharic word for the eucalyptus tree. A direct translation of the word in English would be “tree of the sea”. I often have wondered how it came to be. The Eucalyptus tree has a story similar to that of an immigrant. Ethiopians grew up around these trees whose origins are from Australia. Legend has it that Emperor Menelik, in the year 1895 or so, approved the tree for plantation due to the deforestation that was taking place around the hills of Addis Ababa. Many have argued against this decision and many have praised it. Either way, there are not too many Ethiopians alive today who have not known this tree.

Buna. Coffee. Kahve. Cafe

IMG_9101 The only way forward in the mornings for this Ethiopian is not without a cup of coffee. Buna please. Is it a drug? In Ethiopia, it is not unusual to see women huddled together around a ‘djebena’, the traditional coffee maker, first roasting the beans and then brewing it. Three cups are made for each person and the third brew is offered to children due to it’s weakness.  The Oromo people take the coffee further by putting salt and butter in the cup. You’d better gulp it all at once or you will be making silly faces. Butter aside, a classic recipe comes to mind: a piece of ginger and some cardamom in the coffee maker can take you closer to home.