Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cultural fix

A lot of people don't know this but I'm half Eritrean. 
You're half WHAT??
Half Eritrean.
What's that?
It's a country.
Never heard of it.
You're not alone, most people haven't.  It's a tiny little country, in case you were wondering.  It's nestled in along the coastline of the Red Sea in Africa.  I'm sad to say that I've never been there before and know very little about the culture, but there are two things I am very well acquainted with... the food and the coffee!  Ask me what the one food is that I could happily eat for the rest of my life and I will tell you injera.  Glorious, delicious injera.  And then I'll wash it down with a little cup of your best Eritrean coffee. 
Injera is this sour sort of yeasty pancake that gets piled up with spicy sauces, vegetables and salad.  Then you use the pancake to scoop this irresistible mountain of goodness up and shovel it into your mouth.  Mmm and then you savour every last bite!  I am yet to come across somebody who isn't utterly in love with injera from the very first taste. 
Then comes the coffee.  Oh my, it's like no other coffee you've tasted.  It's coffee the way it was always intended to be brewed!  Fresh green beans are roasted in a little pan over red hot coals, then ground in a mortar and pestle before being boiled in a long necked vessel.  The end is stuffed with horse hair to filter out the grinds when the coffee is poured into tiny cups piled high with sugar.  All the while a chai smelling incense is burning away on coals beside you filling the air with a smell that makes you forget you're sitting in a West Auckland sports field. Traditionally you drink three cups in a row, but if your caffeine tolerance isn't up to scratch you're probably jittering after the second hit.
So you see every year we wait for the International Cultural Festival like it's Christmas.  We head straight for the Eritrean tent, say our hello's and take our place in the semi circle around the coffee lady.  And we don't budge for the next few hours!

1 comment:

  1. I have heard of Eritrea, and I know it's in Africa...but that's about it! No wonder you're so exotically gorgeous!
    Injera sounds bloody divoon....X