"It's a dangerous business, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet,
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to..."
--J.R.R. Tolkein

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daily Bread

Every place I’ve ever visited seems to have it’s own version of white, starchy stuff that goes with every meal. In Belgium, it was either bread or potatoes. In Syria and Egypt, it was pita bread, hot from the oven. In Indonesia, it was rice. But here, it’s called laxoox (pronounce the x’s like a heavy h, like “la-HooH”).

Laxoox is a spongy pancake thing made of a mix of wheat and sorghum. Sorghum is this plant-like material that looks kind of like a corn plant, but it has seeds instead of cobs. The seeds are ground up and used like flour.

These ones are growing in my courtyard.

Anyway, to make laxoox, mix about equal parts flour and water, and a little sugar, yeast, and salt. Let rise.

Then, heat a charcoal fire, This is much easier said than done, as I learned last week. I piled up charcoal and bits of paper, and tried to get a spark. And tried again. And again…

No luck.

So, I carried it outside and set it on the porch, in the path of the wind. After several more tries, and after a hot coal blew out and set my shirt on fire, it caught and stayed lit. Success!

Once the coals are hot, heat a cast iron tablet over the flames. Spread a little oil on it.

When it’s hot, take about a quarter-cup and spread the batter in a circular motion, like this lady is doing here.

Then cover it and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Take the cover off and, using a knife, loosen the laxoox and take it off the hot metal. Only cook one side.

It’s absolutely heavenly when hot off the griddle, but gets softer if it sits around a while.If it’s hot, fold it over and its “crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside!”

Somalis usually eat laxoox with a mug of tongue-scorching sweet tea with milk and spices. A nice way to start the day!


  1. Love the pictures!!! You really have a great eye!

  2. Sophie - I caught wind of this blog from your Mom's posting on Facebook! Oh, how I remember those dinners with your family with plenty of pontification being passed around! I will plan on checking in from time to time to see how you are. I love the picture stories you have posted here to date... Thanks, and best in all.

    Jim Moulton
    Bowdoin, Maine

  3. Great stuff, Sophie. Just what I was looking for - coverage of daily life. You have covered food and clothing...is shelter next? I'd love to see your study of the local architecture.

  4. You are an awesome writere and photographer. Keep it up! We miss you and think of you often.

    lovr from Morris