Jess’s Last Meal: Fruit Smoothie- Ethiopian Style

I thought about what I would want for my last meal and decided that if it were really the case, I would request a smorgasbord of samples of my favorite foods, because there’s no way I could choose just one, neither would I want a full serving of each dish.

Next I tried to narrow down what my favorite foods are. That wasn’t too hard, yet I noticed a trend in foods that stood out; food I would want to be served at my last meal had taste secondary in importance. In fact, some meals were down-right terrible. Sometimes I abuse food, treating it like an burden I have to endure, before I can get onto the next thing, which is more important. Then again, some of my favorite meals subsequently are also my fondest memories. I believe that meanings are established around meals: it could be signify the relationship between people (a first date), a special occasion (turning 21), the surrounding environment (traveling), and more.

So to get down to it; I have a laundry list of items that I would want to be included in my last meal. This scenario, being completely hypothetical of course. There’s no way I could pull of being a ruffian. Here are a few:

-the $3 lunch Rachel and I had of grilled eggplant in a flat-bread pocket after scouring the souks of Fez, Morocco, for several hours, warm and spicy and incredibly rejuvenating
-Freshly squeezed juice from Moroccan clementines
-the meal at The Vegetarian Carnivore, in Rhumsiki, Cameroon- an outside restaurant, in the middle of the desert, with best rice bread, hot from a fire oven and the tomato spread, followed by squash soup
-grilled duck at Sunae Station in Gyeonggi-do Korea
-the 15lbs of beer battered onion rings my friend Danny and I made, with foot-long deli submarine sandwiches- we couldn’t give away enough onion rings
-Beef cooked similar to a roast, at my friend Paul’s 30 blow-out birthday, where he ordered a traditional Korean banquet meal for all his friends. The beef was phenomenal, as well as the amount of food I consumed
-Thanksgiving 2009, still at PC volunteer, and we bought from market and killed our own turkey. Then tried to boil it as means of cooking it
-the night when May’s ex’s friend brought over plates of sushi and soju

And finally, the fruit smoothie I had while at the hotel outside Lake Tana, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. I woke up and walked out of my room into a cool morning, with dense vines winding up the cabins’ posts and flowers dangling on their ends. Then looking past, to an expanse of placid water and sun rising over top. My breakfast that morning was simple; toast and eggs, suited for the influx of tourists. But on the recommendation of a friend that had previously visited, I ordered a fruit smoothie.

It sounds a bit far-fetched that a smoothie would be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, but there are two reasons why it topped my list.
1. The quality of fruit: mangoes and bananas are good. But mangoes and bananas that are eaten fresh from the tree (not picked 10 days before they’re ripe and shipped halfway around world) are mind-blowingly good.
2. Avocado. Very peculiar to combine with sweet fruits, but the creaminess and subtle flavor really set this smoothie apart.

Not to say that replicating this smoothie would be futile, it’s still good now. But I would strongly encourage anyone to take a trip to Ethiopia specifically for this smoothie. I did. Really.

To make this smoothie you need, for every two people:

1/4 fresh pineapple, skin and core removed
2 guavas, skin removed and seeds (if you have the patience)
1 large mango
1 1/2  avocados

One at a time, blend well each fruit separately, pour into a glass about a 1/4 of the way to the top. Rinse blender and repeat with next fruit.

Tips:
1.Keep the fruit really cold. Put the pineapple in the freezer 1 hour before you’re ready to make it, and the other fruit 1/2 an hour. Also while you’re making this, leave the fruit and glasses in the freezer.
2. Since avocado browns quickly, save it for last.
3. If you’re fruit isn’t juicy enough to become liquid add a little bit at a time either water or apple juice (or milk for the avocado).
4. It’s better if the consistency is thicker rather than thinner- I have to eat it with a spoon as opposed to drinking it.
5. When you’re actually eating it, mix it all the layers together. 

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