We asked our Spring 2023 authors to share about a food or drink to enjoy while reading their book, or one that appears often in their new collection from BOA. Mahtem Shiferraw is the author of the poetry collection Nomenclatures of Invisibility, and below, she shares a little back story and a food that pairs well with her poems.
from Mahtem Shiferraw:
When I think of Nomenclatures, the food that comes to mind is "kategna" or, ቃተኛ in Amharic, which is not ordinarily an everyday food. It's mostly made of fresh enjera; at the end of the process of making a batch of enjera, the last one is kept longer under fire so it can become crisp. Then it is buttered abundantly with kibe and berbere, which are two spice mixtures we use in our cooking, creating a new, delicious sandwiched thing. It is an ordinary thing, one perhaps a mother makes for her children at home, a quick snack to devour before going about their days. But it is also one filled with abundance, filled with so much history, such palpable joy. So when I think of Nomenclatures, I think of abundance. I think of the watering, and the sorrowful buoyancy we have done, that we continue to do, and kategna is exactly the nourishment we need - filled with the spices of our foremothers.