Coffee is the only worthwhile culinary innovation, indeed the only worthwhile innovation of which I am aware, ever to come out of Ethiopia. Coffee was discovered when goat herders noticed their goats eating the berries of the coffee plant. They then watched in awe as the goats began to chain smoke cigarettes, discuss literature and fidget uncontrollably.
Coffee then moved to Egypt, Yemen, and then throughout the Arabian Peninsula to Persia. Coffee had a rocky start in the Muslim world, where it was used as a ceremonial drink, then banned, then reinstated as a health drink, then banned, then reinstated as a ceremonial health drink that was both consumed and banned from consumption at the same time.
Soon, coffee was imported by the Italian city-state Venice. The merchants proceeded to sell the exciting new drink to the upper class in very small amounts at exorbitant prices. Starbucks was born and yuppies began to drink coffee.
Coffee spread throughout Europe like syphilis. The drink was initially considered a “Muslim drink” and was banned by the Catholic Church, thereby increasing sales and popularity. Before long, coffee became popular among brooding artists and educated young people. Thus, pretentious pricks began to drink coffee.
Before long, coffee was seen as the drink of rebels and intellectuals in Britain. Coffee was subsequently banned from Britain, and people were forced to drink tea and become more charming, if slightly foppish. Thus, English people began to drink tea.
And in the Thirteen Colonies, or Young America as I like to call it, the Boston Tea party happened initially with the purpose of brewing a whole lot of tea at once. However, when Britain found out about it they became angry that nobody charged anybody money for the tea (and that nobody invited them to the party), so they refused to send the Colonies any more tea. Luckily for Boston, coffee tended to suit their pastries better, so people made the switch. Dunkin’ Donuts was born and uneducated doughnut eaters started to drink coffee.
This increase in coffee consumption made Americans reliant on coffee for their caffeine fix (the drink of rebels, remember?) and it was only a matter of days before people started shooting tax collectors and began demanding popular representation. After a couple of battles, a really cold winter or two, and the intervention of the French, the United States was born.
So next time a relative or in law drags you to a God-awful Ethiopian restaurant for a meal of boiled pigeon and flat bread, just remember that, in a strange sort of way, America owes it’s independence to Ethiopia.