In Print: Mesob Across America | Bleader

Friday, October 22, 2010

In Print: Mesob Across America

Posted By on 10.22.10 at 10:11 AM

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A few weeks ago, on the day I was set to meet with Assefa Retta, proprietor of Edgewater's Kukulu Market (subject of this week's Omnivorous), I got word that my old Intro to Journalism teach Harry Kloman had just published his long-awaited book on Ethiopian food, Mesob Across America. I'd gotten over the idea that the guy who taught me the inverted pyramid was now an expert on Ethiopian food a couple years ago, when he came to town for some field research (we ate Somali). But poring over the book it's dawned on me that his depth of knowledge on how the Ethiopian diaspora feeds itself (and its fans) probably trumps that of any other food writer in America.

Kloman won't eat sushi, but he doesn't blink at kitfo.

His obsession began ten years ago over a revelatory meal at The Blue Nile in Ann Arbor that inspired him to scour the country for Ethiopian restaurants—interviewing their owners, cooks, and suppliers, learning to cook the food for himself, and diving deep into the history and culture. Did you know there are only two injera-making machines in the world (in Dallas and D.C.)?

His tutorial on making tej, Ethiopian honey wine, is published in full online, complemented by this video tutorial:

Making Tej, Ethiopia's Honey Wine from Negusking39 on YouTube

I've taken his advice to "Think of your tej as medicine" and have a batch bubbling up right now.

In the listings: a sampling of East African spots.

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