WELCOME TO THE PREMIER Ethiopian food website on the internet.
In this ARCHIVE, I’ve arranged the many entries below by category. Be sure as well to check out the permanent pages listed above and on the right. The NEWS page reports items about what’s new in Ethiopian food and drink.
For information on a particular topic, use the search function of this site (above right). You can also write to me to ask questions or make suggestions.
If you’re looking for an Ethiopian restaurant, you can visit my guide to restaurants in the U.S. and even take video visits to some of them. The restaurant business is a risky one, and places open and close all the time, so it’s hard to keep the list up to date. I welcome additions and corrections.
I’m a writer and a teacher at the University of Pittsburgh, and you can read much more about all of this in my book Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A., which you can buy at Amazon.com and other places on the internet. During the summer of 2014, I gave a talk on the history of Ethiopian cuisine at the Library of Congress (see poster, above left).
Here, now, are all the things you can read in this website about Ethiopian food.
♦ Gursha: Hands Across the Table. At an Ethiopian meal, you don’t just eat from the same plate – you might find yourself eating from someone else’s hand. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Exploring Doro Wot. Learn about “the national dish of Ethiopia,” including how to make it and what it means to the culture. With video.
♦ Getting a Rise Out of Ethiopian Bread. Injera isn’t the only bread that finds its way to the table at an Ethiopian meal: There are a wide variety of traditional leavened breads baked across the culture. With video.
♦ Berbere and Mitmita: Liking It Hot. Two red pepper powders give Ethiopian food its spice, and they’re essential to the cuisine, as are the peppers that produce them. With video.
♦ In Ethiopian Cooking, Onions Rule. You can’t cook Ethiopian food without onions – lots of them – but you may not even realize you’re eating them. With video.
♦ Ribs & Tibs: The Story of Ethiopian Beef. Traditional Ethiopian butchers partition a cow into 14 different cuts of beef – each with its own name – and some are especially good for eating raw. With video.
♦ A Short “Qurs” on Ethiopian Breakfast. The morning meal in Ethiopia has some familiar elements, but also some dishes that you usually don’t eat any other time of day. With video.
♦ The Ethiopian Spice Rack. Lots of effervescent spices go into making Ethiopian food, and two red pepper blends give the food its heat. With video.
♦ What’s For (Ethiopian) Dessert? What do restaurants serve for dessert when their culture doesn’t have any? With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: The Cuisine of the Ethiopian Jews. The Beta Israel – the Jews of Ethiopia – now live mostly in Israel, and their cuisine has a few unique touches along with many familiar Ethiopian elements. With video.
♦ Teff Talk. Without the unique and nutritious grain teff, which Ethiopians use to make injera, there would be no Ethiopian cuisine as we know it. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Sure As Shiro: Here’s everything you’ll ever want or need to know about one of the Ethiopian table’s most popular dishes. With video.
♦ Dishes with a Difference. Some Ethiopian restaurants offer unusual or unique variations on traditional dishes. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Raw Meat: An Ethiopian Delight. Whether ground or in big thick chunks, raw meat has been an Ethiopian delicacy for centuries. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Catching Up with Qocho. Not many Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S. serve qocho, but when they do, it comes straight from Ethiopia, making it the most authentic dish you’ll find here in America. With video.
♦ Harari Heat in Toronto: Two Moslem-owned Ethiopian restaurants in Toronto serve the hard-to-find dish hulbat marahk.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: T’ej in the Raw. Learn how to make Ethiopian honey wine with step-by-step instructions and photos. With video.
♦ Ethiopia’s Potent Potables. From t’ej and t’alla to homemade alcohol to Ethiopian commercial wines and beers, a lot of things in Ethiopia can give you a buzz. With video.
♦ T’ej in Toronto Is Hard To Find. After a long and inexplicable dry spell, t’ej has finally begun to appear in Toronto’s Ethiopian restaurants.
♦ Begena Tedj: A Tale of Two Continents. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Wilhelmine Stordiau returned to her ancestral Europe as a young woman and now makes Ethiopian potent potables for sale all over Europe.
♦ The Buzz on Ethiopian Beer & Wine. At Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S., you can usually find a selection of potent potables imported from “back home.” With two videos.
♦ Coffee, Kaldi & Confessions. Ethiopia introduced coffee to the world in the eighth century. Unfortunately, it’s the one Ethiopian food that I’ve never tasted because I don’t drink coffee. With video.
♦ T’alla Tell-All. Ethiopians enjoy a raw hopsy homemade beer called t’alla. I’ve tried making it at home – once successfully, once not so much. With video.
♦ T’ej: The Ethiopian Honey Wine. This 2,000-year-old delight is sometimes called the national drink of Ethiopia, and you can make it at home in your kitchen. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Ethiopian Cuisine with a European Flare. Wilma Stordiau of Frankfurt, Germany, makes and sells t’ej, but she also uses some ingredients of Ethiopian cooking to create unique fusion meals and desserts.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Cooking with a Shakla Dist. In Ethiopia, the most traditional cooking is done in a shakla dist – an earthenware pot. Learn all about them – how they’re made, how you cook in them – and watch some videos of meals simmering in clay. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Cooking Ethiopian Food. You’ll find many good Ethiopian recipe books for sale out there, but here are recipes for some of my favorite dishes, complete with my own cooking tips.
♦ Dining with Ato Daniel. Take a closer look at one of the biggest and most well-known English-language Ethiopian cookbooks, written by Daniel Mesfin.
♦ Setting the Ethiopian Table. Ethiopians may not use cutlery to enjoy a meal, but the cuisine has plenty of other utensils related to cooking and eating.
♦ Tales of Injera. With the help of a detailed and colorful little book, you can make this temperamental Ethiopian bread at home.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Eating Ethiopian Around the World. To complement my big guide to Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S.A., I’ve rounded up some restaurants outside of the U.S. on the five continents that have them (there are none in Antarctica or South America). With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: The Beyaynetu Factor. A simple mathematical calculation can tell you how many choices you have on the combination platter, or beyaynetu, at Ethiopian restaurants. One restaurant in California gives you 792 of them!
♦ Singing for Your Supper: The Music of the Meal. Ethiopian musicians love their culture’s cuisine, and some have composed songs about its biggest hit dishes, like injera, shiro and doro wot. With video.
♦ Your Ethiopian Restaurant Experience: A Checklist. Don’t let them know you’re a ferenj when you order Ethiopian food: Here’s a list of thing to do – and not to do. With video.
♦ The Funny Side of Ethiopian Food. Why did the doro cross the road? So he could check out this page of Ethiopian food jokes and puns – and also to save himself from being turned into doro wot.
♦ In Your Gebeya’s Freezer. A Virginia company now markets a line of frozen Ethiopian food that you can have shipped to you by mail.
♦ Ethiopian Food on Wheels. Some enterprising folks in Washington, D.C., serve their Ethiopian food from a truck that lands at a different location in the city every day.
♦ Ethiopian Chefs Show You How. Move over, top chef: Some internet cooks want to show you how it’s done in the Ethiopian kitchen. With video.
♦ The Melting Pot. What we know as Ethiopian cuisine is largely Amhari cuisine, but Ethiopia’s many other cultures have contributed some popular dishes to the menu.
♦ Ethiopia’s Other “Vegetarian” Cuisine. For many Ethiopians who can’t afford better, almost anything that grows becomes a meal. With video.
♦ Tasting Ethiopia in a Market Near You. A young entrepreneur has launched a new line of freshly packaged Ethiopian foods available in New York City. With video.
♦ Naming Right. Ethiopians often name their restaurants after historic figures or places from back home, but some restaurant names are more personal.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Ethiopian Restaurants Debut Across America. Here’s a list of the first Ethiopian or Eritrean restaurants in American and Canadian cities. I welcome additions or corrections to the list for this ongoing project.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Breaking the News About Ethiopian Food, Part 1: 1868-1966. Long before America had Ethiopian restaurants, newspaper accounts taught the nation about the cuisine. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Breaking the News About Ethiopian Food, Part 2. Even after the nation’s first Ethiopian restaurant opened in 1966, many cities didn’t get one for decades, so they counted on newspapers to teach them about what they were missing.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: The First Supper. Beyene Guililat opened the first Ethiopian restaurant in America in Long Beach, Calif., in 1966. His brother, Tesfaye, reminisces about this historic achievement.
♦ Feasting with the Ancients. Find out how the emperors of ancient Ethiopia enjoyed their meals in grand imperial style.
♦ The Art of the Meal. Ethiopian artists sometimes memorialize their culture’s food and mealtime traditions in paintings on parchment made of tanned animal hides.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Desta Bairu – Restaurant Pioneer. Read the story of the woman who cooked the food at the eponymous restaurant that launched the spread of Ethiopian cuisine in America in 1978.
♦ Culinary Milestones: An Appetizing History. What would Ethiopia be without Ethiopian cuisine? Here’s how this delicious way of eating emerged.
♦ The New World. Take a look at some advertisements for food and drink published in Ethiopian books and magazines of the 1960s.
♦ First Foodsteps in Ethiopia. Europeans who explored Ethiopia in the 15th through 19th centuries didn’t always like what their hosts presented them at the dinner table. This post includes photographs of what some of them saw.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: Novel Cuisine: Food, Ferenj & Fiction: Novelists who write stories set in Ethiopia always find a way to describe a meal and the culture that surrounds it.
♦ Making Injera the New-Fashioned Way. Most people still make injera one piece at a time, but technology now allows it to be made by automation. With video.
♦ Making Cooking Easier in Ethiopia. Several enterprises, two at Stanford, have developed products that will make traditional cooking easier for poor Ethiopian women. With video.
♦ FEATURED PAGE: The Scholarship of Ethiopian Cuisine: Many scholars have written many papers and books about Ethiopian food, and a lot of their work is available online.
♦ Planning Your Ethiopian Menu. A 1963 Ethiopian book about nutrition, written in Amharic, has a week-long, day-by-day menu planner for all three of the daily meals, and in this translation, you can follow the author’s meal plan.
♦ Macro Megeb: The New Ethiopian? If you enjoy a macrobiotic diet, why not try the Ethiopian version, courtesy of one nutritionist’s week-long menu planner.
♦ Healthy Eating the Ethiopian Way. A nutritionist has published a book that offers a 22-day menu planner for eating well in an Ethiopian context. With video.
♦ Dining Out in Ethiopia. Where do Ethiopians eat if they don’t want to cook a meal at home? Restaurant options become less abundant the farther you travel from Addis Ababa, the country’s capital city. With video.
♦ A Visit to Wot-lanta. With its well-developed Ethiopian community, Atlanta is a great place to go for a meal or to shop for Ethiopian foods and spices.
♦ Summer of ’15: North & South. While traveling around this summer, I visited restaurants and markets in Indianapolis, Charlotte, Asheville, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Grand Rapids, Mich.
♦ Montreal & Ottawa: A Road Trip. Two of Canada’s largest eastern cities only have a few Ethiopian restaurants each, but they still offer residents and visitors good home cooking. Visit Rochester, N.Y., and Lancaster, Pa., in this post as well.
♦ O Canada! Great Ethiopian! With its dozens of restaurants and markets, Toronto is the place to be if you want the greatest variety of Ethiopian food choices in Canada, although many other Canadian cities have anywhere from one to a few restaurants.
♦ Hot & Cold. Honolulu, Hawaii, now has an Ethiopian restaurant, although only for one night a week. And for three months in 2007, Fairbanks, Alaska, had one as well.
♦ Grand Ole Ethiopian: A Road Trip to Nashville. I spent a few days in Nashville last summer visiting Ethiopian restaurants and markets, and along the way, I stopped at places in Louisville and Cincinnati. With video.
♦ Ethiohio – Discovering Columbus. It’s not the biggest city in Ohio, but Columbus has the biggest Ethiopian restaurant and market community by far.
♦ Road Trip: Ann Arbor & Windsor. We lost a lovely little Ethiopian restaurant in eastern Michigan. I also visited three restaurants across the border in Windsor, Ontario.
♦ The Deep Dish on Chicago Ethiopian. The Windy City has many fine Ethiopian restaurant options and even an Ethiopian market, something you won’t find in New York.
♦ Chicago 2011: An Update. There’s a new Ethiopian restaurant in Chicago, two new markets, and now a place to buy Ethiopian beer by the case.
University of Pittsburgh
Here’s a little preview of my book.