Lahoh:Culture Utilization and Diaspora

Posted: February 12, 2012 by awa2i in Uncategorized

Lahoh is an important trademark dish throughout East Africa and the Middle East and therefore is heavily rooted in these cultures. The linguistic history of Lahoh and how it changes in pronunciation and wording is an insight to the impact lahoh has had in these cultures. For an example, in the northern region of Somalia, it is referred to as laxoox (pronounced lahooh). In Ethiopia, it is referred to as “injera” and is a slightly more sour in flavor. Despite their differences in pronunciation and spelling, lahoh is central to national identity in both northern and southern Somalia, and thus has created a dietary culture that spills over to the main culture of the Somali people. The consistency of lahoh with regard to its daily consumption at Somali breakfast tables, attests to how this object has infiltrated the Somali culture and has been well regarded as the choice breakfast for Somalis. Another factor that contributes to how lahoh has affected the Somali culture is the preference and value in which Somali people have for the object. Despite the countries cultural differences, which differ according to regions, Somalis understand Lahoh as a meal that preserves an appetite (hence its eaten in the morning) and has the ability to energize those who consume it. Hence there is no snacking in between meals and can tolerate the time distance between breakfast and lunch on a full stomach. The movement of the object in Somali Diasporic communities across the world is a constructive source when making an argument for the relationship between lahoh and Somali culture. Furthermore the use of the object has not only been an essential part of the transnational process and cultural process, it has been shaped to assist the physical mobility of Somalis during travel. As described before, Lahoh is typically eaten as a wet pan-cake like substance during breakfast. Lahoh can also be preserved in liquid form and packed during long travel periods where it turns into a flaky cereal resembling substance which is than consumed with milk. The presence and use of lahoh in Somali communities is central to understanding how the object is used and how its use has changed over time, yet remained a food emblem in Somali culture. When speaking with Somalis about the meaning of lahoh in the context of Somali culture and community, Somalis often trace lahoh in their migration experiences. They insist that the accessibility of the objects ingredients makes lahoh and excellent object when attempting to preserve culture and import that culture through food. The Somali Diaspora community in Toronto for an example contextualizes lahoh, by expressing that lahoh is one of the objects in the Somali community that eliminates nostalgia and helps to create a home even when away from home. The use of Lahoh is also modified in context, audience and setting, at a Somali wedding the dish is usually one of the first dishes put out on display and characteristically a wedding ceremony that is dismissive or short of the object is frowned upon by the local community. In another context Somali businesses in the Diaspora that fail to produce lahoh during the morning rush or afternoon lunch period is considered a business that is not catering to the Somali community. In this way the object maintains cultural sensibility and significance best through examining the Somali Diaspora and its relationship with the object. The fact that its utilization changes dramatically in time and space by its audience is also best observed through the Diasporas value for the object.



  Lahoh Batter consisting of main ingredients Flower , water and corn powder. However grounded wheat can be an alternative. To make it more sour in flavor its best to add a bit of yeast. To get the best Lahoh it should be kept at warm place for at least 18-24 hours.

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