I’m a big fan of fermenting foods and expanding my culinary repertoire, and this book definitely led me to both! I learned how to make a sourdough culture from scratch, some clever new ways to infuse oil with herbs and spices, and ventured on a day trip to Denver to seek out the multitude of Ethiopian spices mentioned in Teff Love.
I grew up Vegetarian and first tried Ethiopian food as a young teenager at Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Austin, TX. I was hooked. The melding of the spices and vegetables seeping into the spongey Injera bread was a texture and flavor explosion that I had never experienced before. What could be more fun than eating with your hands in public, in the traditional Ethiopian manner? There’s truly nothing comparable. There are so many authentic Ethiopian recipes out there that are vegan with no modifications, and Kittee Berns has brought them to us in this comprehensive survey of the cuisine.
When I blend the spices for the recipes in Teff Love, I feel as though I’m preparing Indian food with a Thanksgiving twist. The book is rich in calling out foreign spices that I’ve never tried before. Not to worry though–Teff Love has an extensive index of spices and descriptions.
It’s strange to open a cookbook that is so new to me, that I have to read the ingredients and recipes to get an idea of what I am about to cook. Berns opts for the traditional names of dishes rather than writing a lengthy English name. The eggplant, tomato, jalapeno, onion stewy stirfry that I had for lunch today is much more concisely named Ye’bedergan Tibs. I’ve learned that Tibs is consistently the name used for Stir Fry in the book. Look at me expanding my horizons and culinary prowess!
Another key component that I like about this book is how healthy and filling the recipes are. I’ve been counting calories and dieting in an effort to get ready to fit into my snow gear for the upcoming Winter snow season. With Teff Love in hand, I am eating giant meals, feeling incredibly satiated, and consuming a perfectly adequate and not-excessive number of calories.
This book would be a great choice for a Vegan Cookbook Book Club, where everyone makes a dish or two and gathers for a party. The beauty of Ethiopian food, in my mind, is the sampler plate. I would recommend buying Injera for this type of event rather than making it. I made the Injera recipe in the book, and while it turned out fine, it was a lot of work and would have looked a lot prettier if I used a Mitad Grill–which is a pricey but worthwhile investment. I had to watch quite a few YouTube videos to get the Injera pouring technique down pat using a standard non-stick pan. Skilled pancake makers will excel in this arena. I don’t fall into this category.
Overall, I’m rating this book a 10/10. While some of the ingredients are difficult to source, I appreciate the authenticity of the book and the expert execution of creating a Vegan cookbook addressing an underrepresented and oh-so-delicious cuisine. The instructions are clear. The proportions are accurate. The recipes are unique. Teff Love is truly one-of-a-kind and cooked to perfection. Keep this one on your bookshelf.