"" Life A Bit Sweeter: Ethiopian-American Baby Shower -- FUN! FUN! FUN!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ethiopian-American Baby Shower -- FUN! FUN! FUN!

A really good friend of mine, niki, over at Moms Like Me (DC), shared a great event with me that I attended yesterday.  An organization called Empowerment Women International (EWI) hosted an Ethiopian-American baby shower for an Ethiopian couple.  I learned a little more about Ethiopian customs and had an opportunity to just hang with a group of great people.

One of the major differences with Ethiopian 'showers' in comparison to American baby showers is that they are not held until AFTER the baby is born.  At that time, family members and friends are invited over to bring gifts and eat something called porridge -- not the kind that you've probably tasted.  The porridge that I experienced yesterday looked like applesauce but the texture was more like a gelatin.  Personally, it wasn't my favorite dish but there were others that I really enjoyed.

The couple whom we brought gifts for Mekbib Gebertsadik and his wife, Meseret Desta are from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city and came to the DC area in 2001.  They are amazing artists and are anticipating the arrival of their first child.  Through working with EWI, they obtained business education to really get their art business off the ground.  After googling them today, I found that they are well-known in the States and of course in their homeland.  You can see additional work here:  http://www.artmesk.com/mekbib1.swf

I've been wanting to try Ethiopian food because I'd like to prepare it from time-to-time for our daughter and family.  The funny thing is that if you know me, then you know I am NOT a big risk taker when it comes to food.  I was born eating southern food and never really experimented with lots of other cultural foods.  As I said in an earlier blog post, this adoption journey is opening my life up to lots of firsts and pushing me out of my comfort zone for which I am grateful.  In doing so, here's what I had on my plate yesterday:
  • Sambusa - crispy outside fried wrapper with an amazingly great filling
  • Injera - a bread used to eat your food...no forks please...yes, I cheated!
  • Chickpeas - liked it with the injera!
  • Lentils - yep, like it with the injera!
  • Cabbage - seasoning was great
  • Kale --this was seasoned differently than what we do at home and it was REALLY GOOD!!!
  • Porridge -- not my favorite thing to eat but it was great to at least try it.
  • Rice with raisins...this was really good also.
Well...see, I surprised myself with how much I actually liked!  The funniest part was that I couldn't get the injera right!  As I mentioned, the injera is used to pick-up your food.  It has a spongy-like taste to it.  It came rolled up, almost like a small roll of paper towels.  I kept taking the roll of injera and would dip it into the chickpeas and lentils...well, this didn't pick up much food.  Smiling and sitting next to me as I ate was a beautiful elderly Ethiopian woman who tried to tell me how to eat with the injera.  This beautiful woman spoke very little English and was very soft-spoken.  Well, finally, I think she had enough of trying to tell me and decided to show me.  She took my injera roll, pulled a piece off an then told me to pick up the food...oh!!!  Now, if you really know, then you'd know that normally I would TOTALLY FREAK OUT if someone touched something in my plate...but you know what, the crazy thing was that I was just so grateful for her trying to teach me.  I ate my injera and then ate some more....the right way this time!

At the close of the event, there was a coffee ceremony; however, it wasn't the elaborate ceremony that I was expecting and hope to experience when we go over to Ethiopia to pick up our daughter.  (Stay tuned because I'm really hoping that before that time, we'll be able to host one at a venue...you don't want to miss it!  Ethiopian coffee is considered by many to be the BEST coffee.)  Yesterday's coffee ceremony was just a demonstration of the pouring of the coffee and sharing it with the guests. 

There was definitely plenty of laughter, sharing, eating, and dancing that I don't want to forget. To share my experience from yesterday, I captured a few photos and put it to a video.  The man dancing is Mekbib.  He and another Ethiopian guest decided to play a little by demonstrating a bit of Ethiopian dancing...it was fun.  Meseret is sitting with Mekbib in the first photo.   You'll see me holding my yummy plate.  You'll also get an opportunity to see some of this couple's phenomenal art work.  Enjoy!


Shawn said...

Sounded like a fun event! How are you?

Tracy said...

that is hilarious about your injera. Sweety, not trying to make you feel bad but I took my 7 year old and he downed a plate full! As far as someone touching your food - another fun fact - they have a tradition called 'gusha' where you feed the person eating with you to show your love. As in your hubs, your kids, a close friend. Just more fingers on that injera!!!

Michelle said...

Hi Shawn! I'm doing great. I actually have a sippy cup for Morgan that I need to send to you. I think I bought it while you guys were in Ethiopia. How are you adjusting to mommy-hood? Are you back at work?

Michelle said...

Tracy: I am such a little chicken with food. That is too funny that baby boy killed me in the food department. I promise, I'll get better! (smile) Where did you guys go?

Eve said...

Good looking food, awesome art, and Jamming music!!

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