Response Crafting

Ethiopia + Meat

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tire sigaOn Eating Meat:
Ethiopia eats its beef tire siga – raw. The meat hangs in tiny shops all along the roads of the city, waiting to be cut off in hunks and served immediately to hungry patrons. (They also eat the meat kitfo – raw but marinated in mitmita (chili powder) and niter kibbeh (butter.) We saw a lot more tire siga than kitfo, and the consumption of it was clearly a common past-time.)

We as Americans, of course, do not typically eat our meat raw. This is partly out of fear – partly cultural – and partly because, frankly, our standards of slaughter are not sufficient for the practice to be safe. The sad fact of the matter is that if we eat our meat raw, we often get sick. We are one of the most privileged countries in the world, and yet our slaughterhouse standards are so much lower than those in Ethiopia, we must cook our meat, while they can choose to eat theirs raw.

On Not Eating Meat:
Our driver, Messai, described “fasting” to us. Though we had been ordering “fasting” meals all week and knew that it was effectively vegetarian, he clarified that it is actually “no meat, no butter, no eggs” and that, in accordance with Orthodox beliefs, Ethiopians will do this on certain days of the week and for up to 50 days at a time throughout the year. (Some additional research confirmed that, all in all, there are about 250 scheduled days for fasting in a year.)

John remarked, “That’s how Krista eats all the time, at home.”
Messai observed, “so… you are fasting always.”
I laughed. “I guess I am.”

And I like the way he put that. Rather than sounding like some oddball decision framed out of “hippie sentiments,” he made it sound like I was disciplined; devout. (Devout to what, I don’t know, but I liked it nonetheless.)


One thought on “Ethiopia + Meat

  1. raw meat is the best. It is good!

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