Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Kitchen, the Heart of the Home

One evening last week when the boys burst in the door after karate, the house was filled with the aroma of the dinner I had been preparing. Minte (our son from Ethiopia who's been here about 6 months) stopped short, his face erupting into a big smile, and exclaimed "Mommy!! Ees smells a really-really Ee-tiopia!"

Mission accomplished. I loved it. That's what I was going for. You see, two things have the ability to touch a part of his soul we can't get to... Ethiopian praise/worship music and Ethiopian food. When I posted my menu I shared that I feel like I'm finally coming out of my "post-adoption fog" enough to begin incorporating more Ethiopian recipes. Up until now it's been limited to the spicy pasta he taught me to make, which we make together most Sunday evenings. By God's grace, I have grown to love cooking and trying new recipes, but I've been a bit intimidated at the thought of tackling more "ethnic" ones that I either (1) have never tasted so I have no idea whether it turned out right, or (2) have tasted, prepared by a native of that country or a professional chef, so I know mine won't be the same! However, this is important to me. It's worth trying.

I've always felt strongly about wanting my family to have positive memories of our family meals at home. I want them to come home from college or with their own families someday, looking forward to "mom's cooking." I love it when they follow their noses to the kitchen! For our newest son, I want his association with food in his new home to be another reminder of how much we love him... all of him. When he came home, he brought with him his culture and his food preferences. I don't want all of his Ethiopian food memories to be associated with being across the world or in a restaurant. I want some of those memories to lead his mind right back his Texas home. It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of a home. Sometimes (more often than we might think!) "what's for dinner" is about something much bigger than just getting food on the table. It's about reaching our family's hearts.

So here it is, my maiden voyage into the world of Ethiopian cooking: "Alicha Yetakilit Wet Besiga." It certainly didn't turn out as beautiful as the picture in the book, but it tasted great! Steak, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and red onions, seasoned with garlic, ginger and turmeric. (For links to some of the Ethiopian cookbooks I have found, check my sidebar or visit this post. If you know of others, please share in the comments!)

Something else everyone loved last week was the black bean burritos. The filling was so good, my husband used some to make quesadillas on Thursday (YOYO, "you're on your own") night. It would even be a good dip, I think.

So, here's what cooking at our house this week:

Monday: "Ye'doro Alicha Wet" (Mild Chicken Stew with Hard Boiled Egg from TROL), green beans, lentils

Tuesday: Ham & Cheese Bowties, peas, carrots, garlic bread

Wednesday: Southwestern Fish Tacos, black beans, Spanish rice, corn casserole

Thursday: Leftover/ YOYO night

Friday: Tomato Basil Soup (recipe here, scroll down to page 4), salad, crusty wheat bread

For more menu plans, or to share your own, visit Laura. Have a yummy week!


Mindy said...

Hope you all are well.....all of it sounds delicious. I have been looking for a great fish taco recipe. I might have to take a look at this one!

Amber said...


That is an impressive post! Sounds like a lot is going on!