A white (faranje) adoptive mother to two Ethiopian (habesha) girls wends her way through
Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D. J. Mesfin

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia - Recipes from Afar and Near"

Somewhere out in the blogosphere, I became aware of a book entitled "Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia - Recipes from Afar and Near" and I managed to find myself a copy, which just arrived yesterday.  

If anyone is interested in some Ethiopian cookbook training wheels, this slim little volume (it has only 48 pages and 16 recipes) would fit the bill perfectly.  It was printed up for the Pacific Science Center (Seattle, WA) on the occasion of Lucy's first-ever tour outside of Ethiopia.  Lucy, or Dinkenesh, as she is called in Ethiopia, is a 3.18-million-year-old hominid skeleton that, for 30 years or so, was the oldest hominid skeleton ever to have been found.  We saw Lucy when we were in Ethiopia ourselves, and from October 4, 2008 to March 8, 2009, she made her home at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.  

The recipes included in this book are:

*  Berbere (red pepper spice mix)
*  Nit'ir Qibe (spiced butter)
*  Injera (traditional bread)
*  Ayebb (Ethiopian cheese)
*  Greens
*  Ginfilfil (injera in spicy sauce)
*  Foul (fava beans with spicy sauce)
*  Doro Wot (chicken stewed in berbere sauce)
*  Kitfo (minced raw meat with spices)
*  Lamb Tibs (lamb in spicy sauce)
*  Shero Wot (spicy chickpea sauce)
*  Misser Wot (red lentil stew)
*  Curried Cabbage and Potatoes
*  Kategna (fried spicy injera)
*  Che'che'bsa (pan bread with spiced butter)
*  Vegetable Sambusas

It's quite a nice, representative mix, I think; you'd be able to recreate an injera platter like you'd get in a restaurant, complete with the little side dishes of Ethiopian cottage cheese and cabbage and potatoes.  And the authenticity factor looks good, albeit they do scale down the berbere measurements in several -- but not all -- of the dishes (the doro recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons as compared to one cup in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking, but the ginfilil recipe calls for 3/4 of a cup, exactly the same amount as called for in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking).  

The recipe yields for the "staples", like berbere and nit'ir qibe, are also much more manageable for the occasional Ethiopian cook.  Instead of making 23 cups of nit'ir qibe, like the recipe in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking does, theirs makes two (and as for the berbere recipe, well, let's just say that the one in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking starts out with 15 POUNDS of red chili peppers, while theirs starts with 1/2 cup of dried, ground chili peppers).  

If Exotic Ethiopian Cooking leaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed, but you're still interested in trying your hand at Ethiopian cooking, I think this book would be ideal place to start. 

In addition to the recipes, there are also little educational tidbits sprinkled throughout the pages.  At the first mention of fenugreek, the opposite page gives a little history and information on this herb; teff receives similar treatment.  There's some folklore, some cultural information (meals, religion, proverbs), some facts, and even some Amharic words and phrases!  In addition to all of this, it's an aesthetically pleasing book to look at, filled with mostly line drawings, with an occasional charcoal or pastel piece here and there.  

Where to find it?  That would be the question.  Let me introduce you to my favorite book-sourcing website, AddALL.  This link here should pull up sources for Recipes from Afar and Near, but if you just want to do a search for it on your own, the ISBN is 9781933245140.  

No comments:

Post a Comment