Eating in an Ethiopian household is a truly collaborative affair. There are no knives and forks, and we all eat together from the large plate at the center of the table, writes Eginsu Meyer of Eginsu’s House.
By Eginsu Meyer (Jewish Chronicle) |
NETANYA, Israel―When I moved back to Israel after a stint spent working in England, I was determined to carry on sharing the culture and the cooking from my homeland, Ethiopia.
During my four years as an Israeli emissary in London, the Jewish community loved hearing about my family’s background, so I opened up my flat in Netanya to tourists from the Diaspora for them to experience Ethiopian-Jewish home hospitality.
Today there are around 140,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin in Israel. We have a unique cultural and religious tradition. What makes visiting an Ethiopian Jewish home so different is seeing and feeling the continued strong presence of values of a bygone era.
But, of course, we are all Jewish and the way we connect is… food.
I prepare all sorts of foods cooked on the stove. As the wafting aroma of the slow-cooked dishes fills the room, I bring to the table a very large plate on which I place a thin, flat bread called injera. This bread is the basis of any Ethiopian meal. Injera is made with teff, a special grain native to Ethiopia. Not only is it tasty but it is extremely healthy and even gluten-free. In recent years the world has discovered our secret, and teff has become known as one of the ultimate superfoods.
I arrange all the different stews, sauces, meats and vegetables on the injera. The presentation always looks amazing, and I love to see the look in the eyes of my guests when they see the feast in front of them.
Eating in an Ethiopian household is a truly collaborative affair. There are no knives and forks, and we all eat together from the large plate at the center of the table. Using your right hand, you break off part of the injera and scoop up whichever of the sauces, meats or vegetables you want.
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