Eating injera, the Ethiopian flat bread, is a cozy, communal experience that's meant to be shared with family and friends, and this weekend's 'Injera and Chill' event invites you to sop up sauce and meet new people.
"We're trying to welcome people in and tasting the amazing food that comes from Ethiopia and Eritrea," said Eden Hagos, who will be hosting the event this Sunday at the Pearl Lounge on King Street West.
Hagos spoke on CBC's Metro Morning clad in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Tibs & Kitfo." One is a stew and the other is a raw beef dish. Both are meant to be scooped and sopped up by the spongy injera flat bread.
"It's super good for you and gluten free so it's suitable for many diets," Hagos said.
But to her and people of her heritage, it's so much more than that.
"It really brings people together," Hagos said as she began to explain eating the "gursha" way. "You eat with your hands and you share the platter usually, and we even hand feed each other," she said.
"If you care about them, you've got to give them a big scoop of that injera."
Hagos grew up around this food as her family owned a successful Ethiopian restaurant in Windsor, where her relatives dished out loads of the flat bread.
She believes the closeness brought on by eating it is what makes people embrace Ethiopian food so quickly.
The food this weekend is catered by a new Ethiopian restaurant in the east end. The coffee will be roasted, swirled and sipped in a traditional coffee ceremony.
"You sit down, there will be incense burning and you come together with the person not only pouring the coffee but with the other guests that are enjoying it with you," she said.
Sunday's event is put on by her team at Black Foodie, a website she runs that spotlights food from the black perspective. CBC Toronto featured Black Foodie in a segment from HERstory in Black
"We have so much great African and Caribbean food in Toronto and I want to make sure people in Toronto know where to find it."