Ever since I was a child I have been minorly obsessed with Ethiopia, which is probably what helped lead me to majoring in African and African Diaspora Studies. It all started when I learned about the lost tribe of Israel that was found in North-Western Ethiopia. In the early 90's these African Jews faced severe discrimination and persecution because of their religion. As such, in 1991 the Israeli Government planned a mass exodus of Ethiopian Jews. In 36 hours, non-stop flights of 34 cargo planes transported 14, 325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel... pretty badass if you ask me.
Growing up with this epic story sparked a true curiosity in me. Especially because my mom happened to have a friend who helped with Operation Moses, the first mass exodus of Ethiopian Jews. I began to listen to Ethiopian Music, fell in love with Amharic (the language), and of course tried their food.
Lucky for me, my high school was actually located directly across the street from Little Ethiopia!
However, I was not a huge fan of Injera, traditional spongey flat bread often made from fermented Teff. The fermentation is what really turns me off, I like lots of fermented things: Beer, Sourdough Bread, but the sour flavor that comes along with the fermentation process is overwhelming in this particular delicacy. Between the styrofoam like texture, and the super sour flavor, I am still not a huge fan of Injera.
But it does make a great paper towel! A few years back on my 20th birthday two of my best friends from high school (Dano and Molly) kindly agreed to eat Ethiopian Food with me. One thing led to another and there may have been a food fight. But not to worry! Injera was there to save the day with its' incredible absorbing powers.
We did really like the spicy stews, but I still was struggling to get down the sour bread.
Even with this strong aversion to Injera I did recently enjoy it. After years of dreaming about visiting this far away country, I finally got the opportunity... kind of. Really I just was in their airport, but I went out of my way to buy my ticket from Ghana to Israel through Ethiopian Air so I could get one step closer to visiting. While stuck in the beautiful Addis Ababa Airport I did get my hands on some authentic Injera and it actually was much better (although it may have been the adrenaline and excitement that made it taste so good).
I just found out that there is an Ethiopian Restaurant on Magazine Street, which I would love to check out. If any adventurous NOLA eaters are game hit me up!