I’ve discovered that my wife and I are not the only people around Hot Springs who enjoy Ethiopian food. Recently, I posted a query, to a Facebook group dedicated to Hot Springs area restaurant reviews, about whether my unsuccessful efforts to find Ethiopian restaurants in Arkansas might have overlooked a place or two. Unfortunately, the responses confirmed my belief that the state is devoid of any such establishments. But I learned that others in the area share my love of the cuisine. So, I’m exploring the possibility (in my head only, for now) of organizing an Ethiopian food group that might, on occasion, gather together to make and eat Ethiopian cuisine. As I contemplate this idea, though, I begin to ask myself whether I associate adventurous tastes in food with other characteristics I find appealing, such as political leanings. I answer in the affirmative. Yet I know it’s quite likely that many deeply conservative, even offensively conservative, people enjoy Ethiopian cuisine. So, as this idea bounces around in my head, I wonder whether the people in the Facebook restaurant review group who expressed interest in Ethiopian food would be the sort of folks with whom I’d want to dine? The reason these thoughts of politics and enjoying the company of others who share my tastes comes to mind is this: a member of the same group recently made a number of offensive and irritating comments on a post I made. He seemed intent on starting an argument. His comments were annoying not only to me but to a number of others who called him out on his remarks. Curious to know more about this irksome pig, I looked at his Facebook page and was surprised to find he shares my political perspectives. Even if he were an Ethiopian food aficionado, I would not want to dine with him; his like-minded stance on politics would not overcome his offensive personality. Perhaps a requirement for membership in an Ethiopian food group could include an affirmation that members would avoid discussing politics and would endeavor to treat all other members with respect and kindness.
Why do I need to even consider questions of decency and kindness and compassion in contemplating the formation of a group of people who share an interest in a particular cuisine? Why, indeed. Dealing with people makes me tired.
Okay, I’ll deal instead with ideas for a menu: kitfo, gored-gored, zilzil tibs, injera, yegeb tibs, doro wat, shiro, gommen…I could go on and one. But I won’t.