Comfort food comes in many forms, but for Tamar Telahun, it’s all about shiro.
“It’s everybody’s comfort food,” she told At the Table ATL. “It’s like our version of cereal in the pantry. It has to be in somebody’s pantry if they’re from Ethiopia or Eritrea. It has to be in there. It’s just a must.”
Telahun, whose parents are from Eritrea, channels such culture and cuisine into the menu at Feedel Bistro.
“From the artwork in the interior to the social media following, we educate people,” she said.
The restaurant off Briarcliff Road in Atlanta also has a strong vegan following, Telahun said, as a result of the dishes like shiro, a flour puree mixture of chickpeas, yellow split peas and spices.
“We fast a lot for religious reasons,” Telahun said. “So these things are eating often for fasting, because it’s all vegan.”
“How does this dish represent Eritrea?”
Shiro also represents Telahun’s strong family ties to Eritrea.
“This is something we would make at home very often,” Telahun said. “I don’t think you’ll find two of the same, unless it’s from the same household, because you tend to make what your mama makes.”
As a result, Telahun features her own mother’s cooking style on the Feedel Bistro menu.
“I’m very prideful, and I love representing where my mom is from and where my dad is from,” she said.
“How does this dish represent Atlanta?”
Dishes like shiro help fill the gap when it comes to what customers may know about Eritrea.
“The world knows about…Ethiopia a lot more than they know about Eritrea,” Telahun said. “The food is the main purpose that we’re together, but I think the other part that connects people is understanding each other’s cultures and backgrounds.
“We love expressing our love through food because that’s how our parents did it. To be able to share with people in Atlanta and let them know what Eritrea is and share our mom’s specific way of cooking, is huge, obviously,” she said.
At the Table is a digital series produced by 11Alive's Matt Pearl and Liza Lucas. Metro Atlanta features the food of dozens of nations. We want to eat through them all! Follow us on Facebook and share your favorite food stories.