I had Ethiopian food for the first time Saturday night. Alex and I went to an Ethiopian restaurant called Harar. We were joined by some good friends and their adorable almost three-year-old son. We started off with injera, which is the bread with which all the food is eaten. The injera was filled with spicy butter and vegetables. Very spicy, so much so that one of our friends asked the restaurant owner to call the fire department. She laughed, and suggested we drink hot water to cool our mouths. It worked.
Our main meal was brought on a large platter. Different types of stews and vegetables were placed on the platter, and we all dug in, using the injera to scoop up the food. Each stew tasted different, some a little spicier than others, but each was very flavorful and savory and filling. It was a very social way of eating, with everyone sharing the same platter, as opposed to each diner have her own plate. When someone discovered a particularly tasty stew, the rest of the table could then try it.
Our friends shared stories of living in Africa. They were in Malawi for two years, and stressed to us how preferable Ethiopian food is to the American palate than Malawian food. One particular delicacy in Malawi got our attention. Apparently, then catch mice, roast them underground until the meat is smoked (the whole thing, fur included) and then serve them on a stick. Our friends stressed to us that this is not something we would find in Ethiopia. Phew.