Students get a taste of Ethiopia Do you know what’s wat?
You ask, “What is wat and injera?” If you really want to know, come to Clearwater Middle School and ask Miss De Silva, Garyn Simons or Delun Fishenden. If you don’t have time to visit us, you might want to research it at your school or your child’s school, or learn by Googling it. This article will launch you into a few answers.
It all started out with reading a book called ‘Fire on the Mountain’ by Jane Kurtz. The book is about a young boy, Alemayu, who takes care of his sheep in Ethiopia. One day the boy went to the big city where he met his sister and they worked together. Alemayu soon realised that his employer was a pretty boastful man and they made a bet that if Alemayu survived a night in the mountains with just a thin cloak, or shemma, to keep him warm he would get some cows and a bag of money. If the man won, he and his sister would have to leave. If you want to find out what happens next, you will have to read the book; we don’t want to spoil it for you.
We learned much about Ethiopian culture. We learned that a mesob is a colourful, woven table with a lid where Ethiopians sit and have their food. We also learned about an Ethiopian musical instrument called a krar which looks a little like a guitar.
When we learned about injera in the story, we decided that we wanted to find out more. Injera, we learned from Internet research, is a weird-looking pancake. It is eaten with wat which is a really spicy stew, and you can make it with chicken, goat or vegetables, if you are vegetarian. We researched a recipe on the Internet and chose one using chicken. There was no time for making the wat at school so we enjoyed giving Miss De Silva the task of making the wat for her homework.
We made the injera out of teff and water. Teff is a very nutritious grain that plant scientists think originally came from Ethiopia. We let the teff and water ferment for two days. It would have tasted a little better if we let it ferment for three days but it started to give Miss De Silva’s classroom a strange odour. Together, the wat and injera was weird but it tasted great. Delun declared, “It was one of the best foreign country foods I’ve tasted!”
In this Ethiopian folktale, we learned how thinking through a plan to work for justice involves intelligence, the support of others and respectfully confronting those who act unfairly. One of the characters a boastful man who always wanted to win was humbled. We had fun making the injera and enjoyed eating it to ease the wat’s spicy, hot taste. Thank goodness Miss De Silva used half the cayenne pepper than the recipe directed! Now we know “what’s wat” in terms of working for justice as well as the delights of Ethiopian cuisine.
The recipes we choose can be found on the websites:
Recipe for wat: www.congocookbook.com/chicken_recipes/doro_wat.html
Recipe for injera: http://www.food.com/recipe/authentic-injera-aka-ethiopian-flat-bread-96980
Happy reading! Happy cooking!
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