Posts tagged ‘culture’

Blogging [for the sake of blogging] – Western style*

Been trying to lose a bit of weight lately. I drink more water, avoid eating after 7pm [save for the occasional grape or yeQorQoro tuna] and take the most round-about way home, walking fast while everybody else strolls. I have, I repeat, too many demons to run away from! [Worked for Haile Gebreselassie, didn’t it? Speaking of, are we winning any medals nowadays?]. This struggle to faintly resemble the acceptably-sized mass has paid off. I can see the “anGwa” on my deret and the white guys that are checking me out are almost a quarter of the black men that swear by my butt.

So, typical to that form, I’ve been craving for all kinds of food I can’t afford or get to nowadays: dulet.. yeSoof fitfit.. dulet. My attempt at distracting myself from the thought of food, and do something that would benefit “ager” and “hizb”, has only got me as far as the second stanza of “Etemete”:

M’lady, my jasmine-smelling sister
[tell me]
What did that guy say to you last night?
Nothing, save for divorcing his wife and marrying me
He isn’t gonne divorce his wife and marry you
But he’s sworn on his shield, sword and honor

A murder of crows
made its abode above my house
figuring I wasn’t there

So, like a man jerking off to a woman on Playboy, or Randy Marsh on Season 12: Episode 6 of South Park, I give up the futile-attempt at translating cultures/feelings/”wesh meTs” through the weak-medium of language and go looking for pictures of food to appease my – literal – hunger. Here is one I checked out this morning.

Don’t get me wrong. That metro-bus advertisement is right! Thou shalt never “let food” take over thine life! But it sure beats the hell out of boredom when you can’t have sex take it over. Speaking of which [again- food not sex. Sorry guys], I may have mentioned how I had my brothers taste everything I ever cooked and push themselves away from the “gebeta” with sour-looks on their faces when I was 12-15. My older sibling Israel, known in the Qidiste-Qidusan of the family circle as the boy who once run to the kitchen screaming “woyne wete arere”, was better than me at getting my working mom’s [non-existent] “recipe” dead-on and not starving his younger siblings when our serategnas decided to go “ager bet-zemed tiyeQa” and never return. Until I discovered the magic of western cooking – throw everything on the pan and let it sort itself out!! – I sneered at and acted too feministic (busy studing, busy waxing the floor) to lower myself and learn the art of “wet wutweta”.

After coming to America, however, I have realized that I actually know how to cook a decent number of our cuisine, and not badly too. True, I usually serve it to non-abeshas who hadn’t had Ethiopian food before. [Bihonim.. bihonim]. I guess all that time I was sitting in the kitchen watching my mother sweat over a labor-of-love meal, with an extra-serving of Qibe, that she isn’t likely to get “egzer yistilign” for.. I was learning. Learning where to position the “mandeja” so the wind can keep flaming the fire; how not to drop the “sini”, or what’s in it, however hot the china maybe; how to avoid crying your eyes out, lest it shall be observed to you this means you weren’t a “seyit” … “a balemuya seyit”, while peeling “Qey shinkurt”. Learning and mastering the delicable art of being a woman/a wife/a mother in the company of the neighbours, the warmth, the gossip. Yekesel chis, maragebia/margebgebia, yebuna kurs. And Itan.


The thought of the Ethiopian kitchen almost makes me wanna pack my bag and move back home. Home, where Yemender awdeldai would know who I am and what sort of education I am likely to have had by just glancing my way. Home, where its perfectly normal to “miss call” a friend to have them call you back so you can ask them for money. Home, where bulla, dulet and yeSoof fitfit are but a mini-bus ride away. *dramatic pause*. Home!!

[Or, if you are a Homer Simpson, Alaska!]

LeTamemut tena yist *winks at Wello Dessie*. Cher ensenbit.

*Studies show that next to Pets and Fashion, cooking is the most blogged about topic.

August 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm 2 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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