white pebble

I am in here.

Ethiopian berbere. Photo taken in Kent, Ohio w...

Image via Wikipedia

Because I read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese last summer, and loved it so much that I insist on dragging it across country with me, just to have it close by, it has had at least one unexpected effect on me: namely, my cooking.

The book is not about cooking; food is mentioned in the due course of things, but no more than you might expect. One thing mentioned many times: berbere. Berbere is not a spice, but a mix of spices. It is heavily used in Ethiopian cooking, especially in a common chicken stew called doro wat.

And so, I wanted some. I looked in the ethnic cooking sections of grocery stores both regular and organic. I looked online and in spice and cookware stores: no berbere. Nobody even to tell me how to pronounce the word, since I know no Amharic. But lo and behold, Epicurious has a recipe, a small and little-noticed and unreviewed one but enough.

The directions are simple:

  • get thus-and-such bunch of spices
  • pour in bowl and mix

With directions that easy, I am not even sure that it qualifies as a recipe, but there it is. One thing it is not: ecologically friendly, at least in the ingredients I chose. The pepper came from Turkey and the cinnamon from Vietnam. That has got to be a huge carbon footprint, getting those things into my humble (?) American neighborhood.

However, the berbere is wonderful, and I used some immediately. I put almost a teaspoon into a jar of spaghetti sauce I was heating up on the stove, and it was the best spaghetti sauce I ever ate. So there: Ethiopian pasta. Can’t get better than that. I plan to figure out a vegetarian version of doro wat, if that is possible. And I promise to learn how to pronounce the word.

Yup, literature broadens my horizons.

2 thoughts on “Cutting for Stone, and berbere

  1. Julia says:

    It’s pronounced like bear-bear-ray (grizzly-grizzly-fish) but with a little of the d sound to the r’s like they are said in Spanish. There are lots of vegetarian dishes in Ethiopian cooking. My favorite and the most common is misr wat which is made with red lentils.

  2. Patti N. says:

    Thanks Julia! I thought that was it.

    I will try to find a misr wat recipe now. My husband is a vegetarian, and loves this spice mix so much that he has taken to putting it on anything short of fruit or ice cream.

Comments are closed.

computerCalledVarun()

Life in the Digital Age

A blog on my Style Stakes & Fashion Mistakes

Welcome to Sherwood

“Freedom begins between the ears.” - Edward Abbey

Fearfully Made Mom

Finding the Hope of Christ in a Messy Life

Freshly Cracked

Some people eat to live. Some people live to eat...

León De la Rosa

Hacedor/editor de contenido lingüistico/audiovisual

penandwords

Unsaid feelings written by the named Gien

Poetry On A Roll

A brilliant and creative collection of true "free verse" poetry from the soul

Skeptical Software Tools

Applying the power of the programmable web to the purposes of skepticism.

Kintsugi Poets Society

Turning dark cracks & broken fragments into golden seams of poetry

Tupelo Press

Live from the Loft

East Coast Insomnia

:the rhymes of her rhythmic beating heart

BookerMarks

All Man Booker, All The Time

sunsets & sweet tea: the little things

this life is a great and terrible and short and endless thing. and it's full of love.

Karen K. Ford

Fiction is truth; non-fiction is someone's opinion -- S.L. Stebel

SL Stebel

Writer, teacher, mensch

Aerogramme Writers' Studio

Books and Writing I News and Resources

Ichi-go-ichi-e

Thoughts and images of this moment in 日本

Karen Gadient

Ink Slinger in Inner Space

CHATTYOWL

"Owls are not what they seem"

THE POET BY DAY

sometimes the accidental poems of an uncollected poet ... sometimes not poems

Having Decided To Stay

The official website of Bryana Joy Johnson

Old Broke Bones (古い骨折 )

A personal blog filled with fractured thoughts

boy with a hat

I mean to say that I say what I don't mean.

Freeda Baker Nichols

MY TRUE SENTENCE ON WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY & POETRY

Ink for Blood

Just another WordPress.com site

Old Pond Comics

Haiku Comics to educate, entertain and enlighten

Alison Sye

Artist. Scavenging the skips of London looking for abandoned treasures to resuscitate. Part womble, part emergency service..... No healthy books or clothes are ever harmed in the process.

The Jiggly Bits

...because life is funny.

Cindy Knoke

Romancing the Bee

Beautiful Beekeeping, English Cottage Gardening, and Cooking with Honey

Celebrate Haiku

Every day has immense value - haiku can help you pinpoint it

Book Journey

Continuing adventures of a true bookaholic...

Books Can Save A Life

"Sometimes we need a story more than food to stay alive." Barry Lopez

ortegaunderground

Tony Ortega blogs on Scientology

Doug4Cincy's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Life on Main

fiber. family. life. diy.

dustbury.com in reserve

Not quite just another WordPress.com weblog

Stacked

This web log may be kept out for 14 days and may not be renewed. Fine for overdue web logs is 10 cents a day.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 801 other followers