Driving home from the office on Addis Ababa evenings,
but not all,
The berbere makers would grind chiles and spices
into a mix
In small mills on the back streets, the smells floating over
Candlestick sellers and men drinking coffee, passing through
the car window.
Berbere is found in numerous Ethiopian dishes, a favorite being
Stewed chicken with a hard-boiled egg sitting center, which is
The guest of honor, if there is one seated at the Mesob.
It is shared by two people, rarely more, at the dining table. The
Of the red clay-hued sauce is shared by all, though, fingernails
Tongues and lips afire well after the last bites are taken and
goodnight cheek kisses
And hugs are given before walking out into the night.
James Murren is a columnist, travel writer and author of three books, with numerous articles published in magazines and newspapers. He enjoys cooking, hiking, and bike riding. More of his writings, including his Africa and Latin America travel books, are available at: jamesmurren.com