Onto the party post. :)
September is month full of holidays in Ethiopia. After the New Year, Jon had the idea of us hosting a Meskel party, “let’s kill a sheep and have people over". Meskel was on Saturday, party planned for Sunday.
Sure, great idea. It really was a great idea…just not one that I thought through before committing.
We did our inviting and then I realized we had a bit of a situation on our hands. Friends who are Muslim as well as Ethiopian Orthodox friends were invited. Both groups have a separate butcher process. When I proposed the idea that Jon does the butchering and doesn’t say the Orthodox or the Muslim words, they laughed and said, “Then no one will eat it!"
Jon did the grocery shopping
Desalgn looks through the eggs into the sunlight to see if it is a good egg.
The sheep’s tail should be fat, it shouldn’t be an old animal and there is something to look at with the teeth…I think it helps determine the sheep’s age.
Checking out the chickens...
After more discussion, it was decided, we would have a Muslim chicken and an Orthodox sheep.
We planned to butcher ahead as Yeshi, my friend who helps in the house four days a week, would be able to help me prepare.
On Thursday morning, the sheep was to be butchered. We had no power and I didn’t want to possibly lose a whole lot of meat. Yeshi and I began hand chopping five kilos of onions. We had planned on using the food processor but with the power outage, we rolled up our sleeves and dug in while Debbie did The Littles’ schooling for the day.
We decided to instead, butcher the chicken as there was less to lose. However, that would mean the sheep needed butchered on Friday and it is an Orthodox fasting day and so no Orthodox can butcher on a Friday. At this point, my eyes kind of glazed over and we planned to butcher the chicken and I had no further plan until at the last minute, the power came on and so the sheep was butchered.
The Littles watched a bit of the process.
Here’s a front view of their reactions. After they saw the sheep’s bladder, they were no longer interested in it’s balloon potential. They came and declared, “Mom, I am not eating anymore sheep meat.”
That’s kind of how I felt too.
Thankfully, I wasn’t alone! Feysil used a hatchet to cut through bone. It was Yeshi’s first time to work with sheep but she far exceeded me in skill. I kept having to sit down as I was feeling weak-stomached. Cutting through warm meat proved to be a hard experience for me.
After a whole lot of work, we had a sheep stew ready and I put about 8 gallons worth of warm stew in the freezer, in preparation to do the chicken on Friday.
About 1.5 hours after I put the stew in the deep freeze, the power disappeared. I then proceeded to not sleep the following night, doing the entirely unprofitable work or worrying, I thought the warm stew would warm everything in the freezer, so not only were we going to lose the sheep stew but also all the other freezer items. 18 hours later and about 30 minutes before my deadline to pull the stew out of the freezer and reboil it, the power came back on. Yeshi and I hugged, laughed and danced around the kitchen.
The chicken joined the sheep’s fate and became stew and was refrigerated without incident.
Did I mention we also have vegetarian friends coming? And I think I am going to be vegetarian, at least for a few weeks.
More to come on the actual event, although we are going through a time without internet or phone. I am at a restaurant about 45 minutes south of us with wifi.