Instead, this is a document of food anthropogy, a look at how Ethiopians actually cook and eat. Zewge set down her recipes at the age of 89 so they could be passed on to younger generations. Mekonnen, her daughter, translated the book, which was originally titled "Yemouya Kouncho." (Mekonnen lives in San Francisco).
You may never cook these dishes, because they require ingredients you're not likely to find, among them oxen hump meat, false banana root flour, Ethiopian holy basil, fresh rue seeds and mastekakeya kimem, a spice mix that combines cardamom, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cloves and black cumin.
Even Merkato, a market and restaurant in Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles, had only a few of the ingredients called for, including the seasoned red pepper berbere, shiro, which is seasoned chickpea flour, and meetmeta--ground hot red pepper with cardamom.
The refrigerator contains tej, which is Ethiopian honey wine, used in some of the recipes. It's made at the market.
The plate of food at the top, from Merkato's restaurant, is lined with injera before adding assorted dishes that ought to fire you up to try this cuisine.
Clockwise from the top they are the house salad, two lentil dishes, an orange puree made from shiro, more salad, collards and cabbage. In the center are a mild lamb stew and beef in spicy red pepper sauce.
The beef stew is called yebeg sega wot (above, as it appears on the menu). Wot means stew and is basic to Ethiopian cuisine. In the book, the chapter of "Spicy Meat Dishes" includes 13 wots. It seems characteristic to add a large amount of butter to these meat dishes, more than we would think of using.
Other chapters cover breakfast dishes, vegetables, grains and legumes, additional breads and mild, spicy and fried meats. A photo of the author is among the illustrations.
Online sources can supply some of the ingredients. If you're near Los Angeles, you can shop at Merkato and have lunch at the restaurant (above). The address is 1036 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90019. Tel: (323) 935-1775.