As I wrote about earlier regarding the bizarre fascination many people in the Washington DC region have with Pho, I will now rant about another fad cuisine that I feel is absolutely awful.
“Ethiopian is a poor man’s Indian from Planet Gross-Out X. Bunch of multi-colored gross lentils heaped over an old tire. Baaaarrrrfff on my dick.”
– Wise Anonymous Poster from the Internet
” If you can’t taste how gross Ethiopian food is you likely have mild brain damage, probably in the part of your brain that senses when you’re being ripped off.”
– Yet more wisdom from the intertubes
The Washington DC region has the largest Ethiopian population in the United States. When they are not busy running an elaborate Taxi mafia, they open Ethiopian restaurants. Many Americans have convinced themselves that they like it, or that this food is good. The problem is:
- The food they are eating is westernized to appeal to American palates. For example, they cook it. And also, it is not raw camel organs served still hot after being ripped from the maybe not all the way dead animal
- The Americanized version is so incredibly bland and tasteless. It is served on Ethiopian sponge bread (Injera) which is well-named since it tastes like a sponge. I know one person who when she first went to an Ethiopian restaurant put the Injera on her lap because she thought it was a napkin. She was actually correct however, since Ethiopian food is not actually edible and is better used for utilitarian purposes such as being a napkin or Shamwow.
The American version of Ethiopian is bland and tasteless. Everyone seems to like the novelty of taking chunks of their spongy napkin bread in their hand and dipping it in spices, in a tragic attempt to add some semblance of flavor to their meal.
People try and smile while chewing their ‘food’. Mmmm, they say. This sure is good! Every pile of feculent sauce on the ‘bread’ looks grosser than the next. I think the same bandwagon thinking is behind the rise of Crocs, snuggies, black and white striped shirts and pretending to enjoy being a parent.
However, if they ever tried REAL Ethiopian food, I think they wouldn’t even bother pretending to enjoy it.
Here are some awesome scenes from an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel when he visited Ethiopia and was unable to stomach most of the food. This is significant because the point of the show is that the host can eat and enjoy what to Westerners appear to be really gross foods, such as spiders, animal brains, eyeballs, cheese with maggots in it etc. And he is almost always able to finish it and claims to enjoy it. Yet he can’t eat Ethiopian.
These links take you right to the minute and second count of the video (hopefully)
Andrew almost vomits when trying Mook Porridge:
“Fermenting and rotten food made from plants buried in the ground…are much stronger and much harsher tasting than things like rotting meat…Plant stuff just gets a nastier flavor“
Andrew visits the Ethiopian farmers market and tries not to retch
“I have to be honest..the ‘mercado’ as they call it is a place where yesterday’s fresh food is still lingering around as today’s garbage. You mix that with human and animal waste, add rain water, and it becomes one of the foulest environments I’ve EVER experienced…. This is the place where you find the raw materials of Ethiopian cooking”
Andrew tries a raw meat dish and can’t take more than one bite of it.
“This one is a mixture of a raw goat or beef, and it is mixed with intestines…all right. My first taste..those intestines are a little raunchy, tastes like the back-end of an animal if you know what I mean. Wow. I’m not really sure about a second bite here.” (he then gives the rest of the dish away, unable to finish it)
Andrew tries to eat Ox intestine with chopped goat innards
“its hard to eat..its chunky and Grissely and livery and gamey and old-tasting..like it was hanging on that string outside for a VERY LONG time…..I’ve got to admit..some of the food here is a challenge to eat.”
Andrew eats raw camel kidney
“That’s camel kidney? We’re gonna EAT THAT? My god….The flies seem to like the camel kidneys….Let me just tell you, that the milky bloody flavor of raw camel kidney is nothing compared to the sounds that it makes while you’re chewing. Thats CRUNCHY. My god. There’s only so many bites of this I can take“
The only good food to come out of Ethiopia is Coffee.