These beautiful old low tables were used to put injera's on. Injera is a pancake-like bread that is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia. Read the story..
An injera (also spelled enjera) is an Ethiopian speciality. It is a fermented pancake.
Injera is eaten with the right hand. One tears off small pieces of a large pancake in the middle of the table, and uses it to hold the stew and salad. Afterwards, the injera has absorbed some of the liquid and flavour of the food, and is eaten itself - so the injera acts as cutlery, plate and food at the same time. The meal is over when the injera "tablecloth" has run out.
The best injera is made from the small, ferrous cereal teff. However, it is only produced at medium altitude with sufficient precipitation, and is therefore relatively expensive for an average family. Most highland Ethiopians are poor farmers who grow their own staple food, and they replace (part of) the teff with wheat, barley, maize or rice.