Aside from the few rice dish options, most entrees at Uchenna Restaurant are served with Injera bread, acting as the Ethiopian equivalent to Naan bread or Roti Prata in Indian cuisine.

By Becca Stine (The Catalyst) |

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.―At the Picasso exhibit in Spain, the art on display would never be void of a short description of each piece: the year it was painted, what Picasso was trying to convey, and the historical or emotional context that the shape and color arose from. When we dine at a restaurant, why do we not leave our empty plates of food with an understanding of its history and context? Is food not a form of art as well? Uchenna Ethiopian restaurant not only feels like a museum, with a variety of visual and historic art decorating the walls, but the detailed menu and means in which the food is served allow for a greater understanding and knowledge of Ethiopia.

The three pillars for an experience at Uchenna Restaurant, the only Ethiopian restaurant in Colorado Springs, are: “Live. Love. Eat Well.” The delicious and authentic Ethiopian cuisine served to customers at Uchenna is paired with a provided history of the food, fun facts about Ethiopia, and a brief story of the owner, Maya “The Mother.” The first page of the menu gives initial understanding of Ethiopia as a country,before customers order food. Maya creates a space where customers can get a sense of Ethiopia by indulging in incredibly rich and flavorful food and learning about the origins of the taste, flavor, and textures.

Aside from the few rice dish options, most entrees at Uchenna Restaurant are served with Injera bread: a soft, pancake-like bread that is used to scoop food into one’s mouth, acting as the Ethiopian equivalent to Naan bread or Roti Prata in Indian cuisine. “It is the best Injera I’ve had,” said junior Paulina Ukrainets. The Uchenna website reads, “Injera Teff is a fine grain, about the size of a poppy seed, which comes in various different colors from white and red to dark brown. As a native species to Ethiopia, teff thrives in difficult climates with a physiology that can withstand high heat and bright light. As such, teff compromises the staple grain of Ethiopian cuisine.” This provides both a history and context for a staple food consumed at the restaurant.

Injera provides a base for the food served at Uchenna, and it is also the means with which food is consumed, like an alternative to silverware. This gluten-free bread  seems to characterize the “Live” element of Uchenna’s motto, as without silverware provided, customers are expected to eat Maya’s Ethiopian cuisine the way it is eaten back in its place of origin. In this way, it is as if customers are better respecting the food through the awareness of the way it should be consumed.

Continue reading this story at The Catalyst
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