By – Blien Solomon
If you ask one thing a habesha man or women can’t live without, it surely would be that thin, soar but tasty food we eat with almost everything, an ‘Injera’. From the moment we started to eat solid food to that last meal we share before we die, a habeshan person would never depart from the local food injera. That was what most of Ethiopians and Eritreans tasted after they had to leave their mother’s breast milk. It’s engraved not only into our diet but our lifestyle and culture. You can go back to history and would be astounded with pictures of our mothers and grandmothers carrying a bundle of wood so that they can heat their ‘eton’ (traditional Injera maker) and feed those hungry bellies. Maybe you would expect with technology and the infusion of cultures, our people would leave this local food behind just like they did with their hometown. But you can’t be more wrong, because where ever a habesha person is, that will be where the injera will also be. So wherever we are, maybe as far as Asia or closer in Africa, injera is something we carry as mementoes from our homes.
In our culture, learning how to make an injera is task most young girls undergo and is considered as something a wise woman ought to be able to do. And nothing makes our habesha mothers more proud than for their daughters to be called wise and a wife material. So injera is not just a food, but has become a part of our memories and our childhood. I remember when I was young lady and my mom was teaching me how to make one. It had to be an almost perfect circle with eyes bubbling in every inch of it, but with shaking hands, my injera was far from being circle and ended up looking more of a triangle than something round. The laughter and frequent outburst from my mom for wasting her yeast are one of my favorite memories of all time.
The popularity of the food has also been a great business idea to venture in. Ethiopia has reportedly earned $36 million from the export of Injera in the past nine months of the 2014 budget year. Addis Maleda, which is cited as Food, Beverage, and Pharmaceutical Industry Development Institute (FBPID), said the plan was to earn $29 million from the export of Injera during the same period but ended up completing 71 percent of the export plan. So injera not only has been something we just eat but also a source of an income. And here is tip for all of those who want to experience the habesha life style; go to that near Ethiopian or Eritrean restaurant and order some hot and chilly (berbere) soup and dip your injera and savor that good taste of heaven.
Source: Borkena Ethiopian News