Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cooking Frenzy!

I can still hear my kitchen panting after all the action it got last week. Like me, my kitchen is desperately out of shape.

The marathon came about because my mouth is bigger than my brain. It started because, Hanna Fanta, an incredible woman who gives her life for teenaged orphan girls, was visiting.

We held a fundraiser for her girls at fellow filmmaker Lee Ann's house. I naively offered to bring Ethiopian food with us.

WOW, did I underestimate the prep time (and the FUN) involved!

My friend Mari Tyson was a LIFE SAVER. She grew up in Soddo, Ethiopia, very close to where my daughter Zion was born (on the same hill, in fact). On the way to get Hanna at the Charlotte Airport, Mari and I stopped at The Nile Grocery to buy injera (3113 N. Sharon Amity Rd. Charlotte, NC 28205, Phone: 704 531-6221). I'm including the address because this woman makes excellent injera! We were fed a lovely dinner, and bought some spices as well. We then wandered around the Charlotte baggage claim (becuase CLT never seems to manage to put correct or even close flight numbers on the digital read outs over the bags), and somehow managed to eventually find each other.

On the drive home, the two of them started talking about the meal. It was instantly apparent to me that I was ill prepared for what was to come. So, the next morning I asked my nanny if she would come early to help. Thankfully, Mary also offered to come. Four women, one meal. No problems.

Mary and Hanna ran out to get food, leaving Camille and I with instructions to dice onions as small as we could.

THIRTY onions!

We filled my largest mixing bowl, and sat down proudly. When the shoppers returned, they shook their heads . . .

nope, not enough onions.

We need at least 15 more.

The cooking commenced. We played Ethiopian music in the background and the kids stood at the open door peeling carrots.

More beri beri, yep, just a touch more because the meat takes the heat.

A little more beri beri . . .

Just in time, we finished four great dishes and headed to Lee Anns for a fantasic review of the days' work.

Check out Lee Ann's blog in a day or so to see her update about our wonderful evening. I'm convinced that the two of us will go to Ethiopia together and make a film someday soon, and I can't wait!!


Heidi Wilson said...

mmmm... looks delicious. Next time I visit you'll have to cook. :)

the ewings said...

Awesome Job!!! Yes, this is what intimidates me about ET food. You did it! I bet you got rave reviews!!! - Chris

MetricGirl said...

45 onions? Oh my word. I cooked Ethiopian food for my son's 5th birthday and I thought that my 3 bags of onions (about 25) was a lot. Next time I'm using the food processor to chop them.


Heidi Mehltretter said...

I agree. My mom has tried numerous times to give me a food processor, but I know it would take up too much room in the cabinet. Next time, I borrow one! But, truthfully, I didn't do much in the way of actual cooking - I prepped and admired and occasionally ran away into the other room on the pretext of checking on David, who was still recovering from his surgery. Cooking overwhelms me, but I LOVE watching it happen. I could video tape people cooking for hours on end.

Laura said...

Suddenly I find myself very hungry... :)

PS: Did you notice Heidi W. says "next time she visits..." I am counting the days (I just need to know when to start my count!)

Thankfulmom said...

That sounds so amazing! I wish I could have been there.

Don't forget to let me know when Hanna heads my direction.


jen said...


I just spent way too much time reading a ton of stuff here! I could read all night - even the stuff I've read before! Thank you for sharing so much of your life here!

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Thanks Jen - it's humbling that people read this! I enjoyed reading about your trip. Even though we travel different times, we share those moments so closely - a space, time, ethiopian adoption continum.

Okay, I obviously need more sleep . . . .