Salad for Dinner in Addis Ababa

Prep time: oh, I’d say about 3 hours


  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Dressing, see below
  • Parmesan cheese

To make the salad, first make sure you tell your driver to go around to the open part of the road to the supermarket because otherwise you’ll have to walk a couple of blocks in your cute sandals over rubble and stuff.

Also, don’t be too nervous about the veggies, especially the lettuce. It might look like it was just picked out of the ground (there’s still a lot of dirt on it), but you know, local and fresh is a GOOD thing. And you’re about to bleach the shit out of everything anyway.

Now, when you’re disinfecting your food, it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough clean water for soaking and rinsing. If your distiller is small like mine, boil some water in a big pot. Then add the bleach solution and the veggies and soak for a while, about 30 minutes or a little bit longer if you’re nervous about it. Maybe take apart that lettuce first to make sure the bleach hits all those little microorganisms.

You probably want to rinse for a long time, too, to make sure the bleach stuff is completely gone. Maybe soak for a half an hour in distilled water and then do a triple wash in distilled water. I don’t know, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with.

Might as well peel those cucumbers, too. I mean, why not?

Let’s use some of that special parmesan cheese Dan brought over in his suitcase from Italy. Yeah, you were probably thinking you’d save it for special occasions or more ambitious recipes. But you know what? That’s silly. You deserve this.

For the dressing, mix up some olive oil and balsamic vinegar that you were smart enough to pack when you left South Africa. You’re too tired at this point to disinfect the garlic, so just use one of those garlic and sea salt grinders to season it. Another smart purchase before leaving South Africa.

A hunk of bread from the German bakery would go well with this incredibly labor-intensive salad.


I kind of expected it to look a lot fancier after all that prep work.

Et voila. Dinner.

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