The vegan sampler at Ras Plant Based features an assortment of dishes traditionally eaten by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians during periods of religious fasting, when they abstain from animal products.Photograph by Bubi Canal for The New Yorker
Always ready to learn more about Ethiopia’s contributions to the world. And the move to animal-free food is an evergreen topic around here. So the story below is perfect for today. The photography is unusual, in the world of food, but the text by Hannah Goldfield is convincing:
An African subject, for a second day in a row; thanks to Andrew McCarthy and the New York Times for this:
Both dams and overtourism threaten the Omo Valley. But a sustainable travel initiative offers an intimate experience with local peoples. Continue reading
Growing coffee provides income for about 15 percent of Ethiopia’s population and is the country’s top export. Climate change is likely to shrink the land suitable for coffee, thereby also hurting the livelihoods of many people.
Courtesy of Emily Garthwaite
Change is almost never easy. Then there is climate change. Daunting, but we cannot stop considering the implications and the options. The planet may recover in geological time, the underlying logic of those who promote denial of the urgency, but plenty of people are at risk in real time, so no option but to keep focus.
Thanks to the salt, at National Public Radio (USA) for a reminder of coffee‘s relationship with conservation, a reminder of Ethiopia in general, which is always welcome, and especially Ethiopia’s relationship with one of our favorite beverages:
by Courtney Columbus
Ethiopia gave the world Coffea arabica, the species that produces most of the coffee we drink these days. Today, the country is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee. The crop is the backbone of the country’s economy – some 15 million Ethiopians depend on it for a living. Continue reading
I have stated my own preferences for certain pros critiquing and explaining food and the places where you can explore it anew. I have recently been appreciating those like this one–not least because I love Ethiopia, and its contributions to humanity, and in general I am an Ethiopian diaspora fanboy–by the newer reviewer, Nicholas Niarchos and look forward to his providing many more. I am happy to see in the image accompanying his review what appears at first to be popcorn on the lower left, but is more likely a lightly toasted version of a superfood we came to favor when in Ethiopia, (speaking of superfoods):
The absence of meat and dairy isn’t obvious while you’re there, but when you leave your step will have a new spring in it.
Cover Art © Pegasus Books
Although I haven’t read this book yet, I do know what it’s like to be on an expedition to find a bird that hasn’t been seen in several decades, which is the subject of Vernon Head’s book, freshly published in the US this month. “The Rarest Bird in the World” tells the story of the search for a bird related to potoos called the Nechisar Nightjar, which had been identified as a new species in the 1990s by Cambridge scientists who found a single wing of the bird in a remote area of Ethiopia.
The publisher blurb makes it sound pretty engaging:
Part detective story, part love affair, and pure adventure storytelling at its best, a celebration of the thrill of exploration and the lure of wild places during the search for the elusive Nechisar Nightjar. In 1990 an expedition of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar, tucked between the hills of the Great Rift Valley in the Gamo Gofa province in the country of Ethiopia. On that expedition they found three hundred and fifteen species of birds; sixty one species of mammal and sixty nine species of butterfly were identified; twenty species of dragonflies and damselflies; seventeen reptile species were recorded; three frog species were filed; plants were listed. And the wing of a road-killed bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DINA LITOVSKY FOR THE NEW YORKER
We took a respite from thinking about Ethiopian food for some months, following our brief exploration of Ethiopia but this item in the current issue of the New Yorker reminds us of why that all held our attention so firmly. It gets us thinking about a return trip to Ethiopia. It has us wondering where have the last 363 days gone? Whet the appetite here:
For lovers of Ethiopian food, recent years were marked by two seismic events in Harlem. First, Tsion Café and Bakery opened on Sugar Hill, serving steaming piles of stew atop injera.
One of Ethiopia’s many excellent national parks
This is not the post promised. It is a taste of why I must post, as promised. This canyon, this river, this view came early in our expedition and is among the strongest in my visual memory. It seemed fortunate, at the time, to catch this view at sunset but the more I think about it the more I am convinced that the place is worthy of a snapshot any time of the day. And it is worth making future visits, so next time I intend to navigate downriver (from the right in this photo), arriving at the place where I snapped this photo after hiking up the canyon. Continue reading
Michael Tsegaye for The New York Times. The Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Center in Harar.
For those involved in Raxa Collective’s recent scouting expedition in Ethiopia, since Harar was not on the itinerary we must consider Rimbaud’s endorsement during the next expedition:
Debresena church forest- South Gondar, Ethiopia (Picture from Google earth)
“I can try to explain it to you, but unless you see it for yourself, you really can’t gasp the situation. They’re going through one of the worst droughts ever, it’s barely rained in three years. There is no water to grow vegetation, no water to drink. Everything is like desert. For people in the United States, it’s hard to wrap your mind around that.”
Anquan Boldin, Football star for Baltimore Ravens, winner of the 2013 SuperBowl
As a nerdy scientist, I was never a SuperBowl fan. This year when Anquan Boldin, who shares my passion for building stone walls in Ethiopia, made the first touchdown of the winning Baltimore Ravens, I became one. Continue reading