Some Great Sambusa…

9 Mar

Lori Writer wrote about sambusa in Minnesota Lunch.

Sambusa – triangular pastries stuffed with ground meat or vegetables, spiced with onions, fragrant cilantro, and chiles, and then deep-fried – are celebration food for Somalis. “Served,” says Jamal Hashi, chef and co-owner of Safari Express Restaurant in Minneapolis’s Midtown Global Market, “at weddings, large gatherings, family reunions, special occasions.” Hashi grins broadly, “Like food candy.”

I was fortunate enough to have a terrific plate of them a couple nights ago at Lucy’s, a new Ethiopian restaurant on Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis. Read my review of Lucy’s here; check out the sambusa below.



Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Minnesota Lunch: The Cover!

9 Mar

Minnesota Lunch is hitting bookstores and the Internet; here’s the cover. Stay tuned for more details on the book, its contents, and upcoming publicity.

A Tentative Title

27 May

I think we’ve got a title! We’re looking at Minnesota Lunch: The Eleven Sandwiches That Tell the Story of the State.

For those wondering how things are going, the team is close to turning in its rough-draft manuscript, more or less on target. We’ve driven all over the state, eaten dozens if not hundreds of individual sandwiches (a count is forthcoming), interviewed cooks, church volunteers, barbers, bar owners, professors, authors, and many others, snapping photos as we’ve traveled. I’m excited about the book’s progress, exhausted by the effort thus far, and really looking forward to moving the project toward publication.

Also, we’ll start posting some tidbits here as they pop up. For now, a teaser photo taken while illustrating our chapter on the hot dago sandwich:  Pasquale “Pat” Stebe of Dusty’s in Northeast and one of his house “dagos.” (We apologize for the politically incorrect language and assure you that we explore the etymology as thoroughly as we tackle the gastronomy.)

Becca Dilley / Minnesota Lunch

We’re Seeking Stories

19 Jan

James Norton, co-author of the Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin and editor of the Heavy Table, has been engaged by the Minnesota Historical Society to write a book about the state’s gastronomic and cultural history. In tandem with a team writers and photographers including his wife, Becca Dilley (co-author of Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin), Norton hopes to use food history and gastronomy as a door to talk about broader topics.

The book will take a look at immigration and culture through the lens of a variety of sandwiches with meaningful Minnesota connections. They include the jucy lucy, porketta, the pasty, the torta, the fried walleye sandwich, the banh mi, the sambusa, the hot dago, the meatloaf sandwich, the beef commercial, the Scandinavian open-faced sandwich and one or two others.

Norton is seeking information on recipes (particularly heirloom and/or church recipes with stories behind them), cultural and historical connections between the sandwiches and state history, and current masters of sandwich making — the best places to order and eat the sandwiches described in the book.

If you’ve got a story that might fit this book — or you’re a restaurant with a tradition that’s relevant — please get in touch. You can contact the author at