Love – The True Ingredient of Doro Wot


Easter in Ethiopia is no Easter without Doro wot. The dish-to-date association, the anticipation that builds as the date gets close and the detail that goes into its making bring to mind the importance of Turkey on Thanksgiving in the USA. The stew that is for hours cooked in berbere, butter, and other spices is a match made from heaven. But as good things do, preparing a good Doro wot takes time, skill and determination. Just remember the teary, burning eyes you get from chopping onions. Well, a ton of onions is what you need for Doro wot (yes – with skill you can fit a ton of onions into a cooking pot to make Doro wot).

Unlike any other Holiday and unlike any other dish – Ethiopian Easter and Doro wot symbolize the love and fellowship that brings so much joy to children and their families. It symbolizes the importance of our families, that with a lot of love and a lot of labor make magical moments like these come to life and carve beautiful memories in the minds of our children.

The love of family makes our houses into homes. The desire to always put family first is the testament to that love. In most families, the Doro wot is made in the evening before the fast is broken. Remember fast is broken approximately at 3 am or later depending on, for example, what time family members who stayed over at church return home. Sometimes, the food will not be ready until an hour or so before it is eaten. Moreover, a lot of people might not have the means to buy the chicken that goes into the Doro wot, so they might prepare it with more eggs and or buy beef as a replacement. The main ingredient nevertheless stays the same. Family and love.

Many a time, I find myself appreciating the Doro wot, without really appreciating the person that made it. I forget the challenges that go into making a house feel like a home. I forget what it takes to make distant relatives feel like a close family.

Unfortunately, that is the case with lots of people, but it should not be. So next time we enjoy the delicacy of Doro wot, let our taste buds remind us of love. As Doro wot is eaten, let the main ingredient, love, spread around and allow strangers to become friends and friends to become families. For out of love, great Doro Wots are made. Well that too, but what I really meant was – that out of love great families are made and from great families, great societies are shaped.

So this past Easter, I would like to toast to the people that prepared Doro wot for their families and friends.  This Easter I hoped to enjoy the dish, as it enthused my taste buds, but also hoped to cherish and appreciate the love that has gone into its making. I hoped to enjoy the love that brings us closer to the people we care about and ultimately allows us to extend the same to others in our society – making the world a better place. Even if just a little.

So this week, as you celebrate the festivities, please also celebrate those that have labored with love to make it happen. And spread the Doro wot, or what would be easier, its main ingredient: love as wide and as far as you can.

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