by Liane Wolbert
Liane is the Director of YWAM’s domestic adoption program – Adoption Ministry of YWAM. She also does homestudies for our local families adopting from Ethiopia. Liane, with her husband Mark, has led several mission teams to Ethiopia for YWAM’s many outreaches there.

Berbere-The spice of comfort for Ethiopians
After spending extended periods of time in Ethiopia, we come home with the scent of berbere exuding from our pores and the tips of our fingers. We don’t mind – we like it!

When ordering food in a resturant we have the choice of a Western menu or Traditional food. We always have Awaze with whatever choice we make. Awaze is berbere that is mixed with oil and lime and served in a little dish for dipping bread while you wait for the rest of your meal. Awaze takes the place of butter.  Berbere is mixed with scrambled eggs in the morning and with rice.  I really can’t think of anything cooked in Ethiopia where it cannot be used (except injera). I have even been offered fruit that was cut up on a platter with berbere sprinkled on the top. It really was tasty!

Many of my adoptive families make sure to visit the spice store to purchase spices and lentil powder before they come home with their children. When visiting homes to complete post-placement reports, I am often told stories about Ethiopian children putting berbere on everything. One family reported that their child put berbere on pizza and spaghetti. After a while they had him try one bite without berbere before eating the rest with a heavy portion of the delicious and comforting blend of spices.

Last weekend Mark and I were visiting the home of good friends who have Ethiopian adopted children and the older girl who loves to cook prepared a traditional Ethiopian breakfast. Our eggs, rice and vegetables were infused with a ‘ferengi’ portion of berbere. She even prepared the coffee from the clay coffee pot that her parents purchased in Ethiopia. When we were cleaning the kitchen after eating, she snapped the lid of the tupperware container holding two pounds of berbere and placed it in the cupboard next to the sea salt and pepper!

I was chatting with one of our adoptive moms just last week on FB about how her daughter was adjusting, having been in the States just 24 hours.  With jet-lag, brain overload and everything new she was feeling very sad.  Her mama’s heart was aching for her, wanting to take away the pain but she knew she could not. Well, it looks as though this mommy was able to comfort her girl in a way that, for that moment, brought some needed relief:

Here’s  a short video clip about this wonderful Ethiopian spice: