Berbere ~ James Murren

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

the beeswax


Candlestick sellers and men drinking coffee, passing through

the car window.


Berbere is found in numerous Ethiopian dishes, a favorite being

Doro Wot,


Stewed chicken with a hard-boiled egg sitting center, which is

offered to


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

spicy heat


Of the red clay-hued sauce is shared by all, though, fingernails

stained and


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:

Photo Credit: Photo by Marta Branco from Pexels

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