“Since Ethiopia was never colonized, they don’t use utensils,” Jones says. This means eating with a spongy flat bread called injera, which is made from the ancient grain teff. It’s ubiquitous on Ethiopian tables as “diners use their fingers to tear off pieces of bread throughout the meal.”
This signature Ethiopian bread requires three days to make, in order for fermentation to take place, but the process is easy.
In this country, “injera bread can be a great gluten-free option,” says Jack Cahill, assistant director of Dartmouth Dining Services, who describes the bread as “a very unique, tasty pancake.”
Yemiser Selatta (Ethiopian Lentil Salad)
Abesha Gormen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)
Injera (Ethiopian Bread)
Diners in Dartmouth’s 1953 Commons, the main dining hall on campus, use injera to sop up four different stews, or wot: Sik Sik Wot (beef), Doro Wot (chicken), Gomen Wot (collard greens) and Mesir Wot (red lentil). The two stews with greens and lentils make for hearty and flavorful vegetarian options.
Dartmouth Dining partnered with Damaris Hall, chef-owner of local catering company/restaurant Taste of Africa as part of the visiting chef program. She brought her knowledge of Ethiopian food and students got their first taste of authentic wot.
The variety of Ethiopian stews have continued in the menu rotation and are “so well received,” Cahill says, with the added bonus that the cost of each serving is “remarkable—about 88 cents per serving,” Cahill says. “Sales of the stews actually ramped up. Usually the novelty will wear off a new item, but in this case, through word of mouth, the stews got more popular.”
Students’ quest for authenticity in food had something to do with it, and they notice and appreciate that the stews are “not a dumbed-down version,” Cahill says. Click for more information on Dartmouth’s program.