Saturday, January 20, 2007

Self Delusion

I used to be a picky eater, and my family would probably say that I still am, but then they like to believe that I am still ten. In actuality, I have made great strides in the food that I will not eat--ethnic cuisine being one of them. As a child the most "ethnic" I got was spaghetti and meatballs but I can now say that I enjoy Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Greek etc. In fact, I was beginning to consider myself quite ethnically savvy, being open-minded to all sorts of different spices and flavors.

Self delusion people. Many of us participate in it, and I am no exception. Last night I had Ethiopian food for the first time. I was actually really excited to go as I heard that the food was really good. This particular restaurant, Meskerem, was rated one of the top Ethiopian restaurants in D.C. The thought of sitting on little stools, eating with my hands, and sharing food sounded both exotic and exciting, something I looked forward with anticipation. It was the bread however, that was my downfall.

Bread seems so harmless, so safe. I come from a family of carb addicts. I embrace bread in all of its forms: white, wheat, leavened, un-leavened. However, I was undone by injera, the traditional Ethiopian flat bread. When the waitress brings it out, you assume that it is a large, slightly grey/beige napkin. No. Quickly you learn that is the utensil that you will eat your food with. That in itself is not a problem......unless you don't like the taste, and then the thought of tasting that taste with every single bite makes you feel a little green around the gills. It actually doesn't taste like much, but it has a bit of a hidden zing, due to the fermenting process used to make it. And then the texture......a rubbery, spongy texture that put me off more than the actual taste. I found myself washing every bit down with a heavy dose of water. To further put me off, my lab mate, stated that it reminded his wife's placenta, pitted and spongy like, after his son was born. Luckily he made that comment after I had decided not to eat any more but am afraid that it has put me off injera for life.

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