Last year we invited the two gardeners and their families to a Christmas dinner, but this year, Christmas was a bit hectic and we didn’t get to offer the feast to them. So, we had Michael and Shawn stay late last Friday so the four of us could eat together. Here in Africa things are relatively cheap, but a few things are not. As an example, last month we purchased a turkey for Thanksgiving but didn’t use it then, so we used it Friday. The turkey was very small, probably 6-7 lbs and cost about $80. So we don’t buy turkeys very often.
Below are pictures from last year. First is Micheal’s mother and step father and Shawn’s wife. Then Shawn and his little Daniel. And a picture taken outside after dinner.
Needless to say, our Gardener, Michael was ecstatic as he very much enjoyed last year’s meal. Especially the pumpkin pie. Terese points out that in Ethiopia, pumpkin is merely a large gourd that is cut up and cooked like any other vegetable, like zucchini and squash. To have the large vegetable cut into pieces with spices added and baked in a pie is a very unusual thing. They were a bit baffled about the cranberry sauce, but they did try it and liked it enough to eat one serving. So Friday night’s dinner was a small turkey, fried vegetables with dressing, and cranberry sauce on the side.
Now bear in mind, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas (and Easter) two weeks after the Christian Faith in the States, so their Christmas is on January 7th. Many Ethiopian Christians are very religious and take their Faith very seriously, and Shawn is one such person. These are the Christians who will stop and sign themselves as they walk in view of a church, even if it’s 5 blocks away. They fast everyday for 40 days before Christmas. When not in the Christmas season, they fast two days a week. Fasting is basically a vegan diet. No meat or anything that derives from meat. This include eggs, so although Michael indulged in the pumpkin pie, two pieces at first until Terese pushed the pie closer to him, Shawn on the other hand was unable to eat any. The only thing he ate was the vegetables and the dressing. He didn’t know the dressing had bird juice in it, and I didn’t say.
So after the Ethiopian Christmas, we are planning to invite both young men and their families over again and serve several chickens with various pies and cookies. Because after their Christmas, they do not fast at all for 40 days, so they can eat anything we serve. Then it’s back to the two days a week.
Chickens are easy for us to get, although expensive. About 10-15 dollars a bird. We’ll get at least 3 and let the families take the rest home. Michael likes to help Terese cook, even to the point he wants us to adopt him and take him with us when we leave for our next post. So when he felt guilty for Terese cooking this big meal alone, I made him come in and cut the turkey. He wasn’t expecting that, but didn’t complain. I left for a few minutes and came back, and found him trying to dismember the turkey the way we would chicken, so I showed him how we just basically fillet the dead bird.Then our meal with the two gentlemen. When we have the next feast with them and their families, I will post it. In the meantime, I hope all had a good Christmas and will enjoy a healthy and prosperous new year. D.