Saturday, October 24, 2009

The chickpea war

The latest salvo:
Hundreds of garlic-loving Lebanese came together on Saturday to make the largest hummus serving on the world's biggest plate, claiming ownership of the dish with a new Guinness world record.

A Guinness representative was on hand to certify the record set by 250 Lebanese chefs and their trainees, who joined efforts to mix over two tonnes of the chickpea-based dip.

Under the watchful eyes of the adjudicator, they poured 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds) of mashed chickpeas and 400 litres (13,525 ounces) of lemon juice into the mega-sized pottery dish, cheered on by hundreds of onlookers.

The chefs gathered around their dish upon receiving the Guinness certificate and sang an a capella version of the national anthem before joining hands to dance the traditional dabke in celebration.

Organisers have hailed the event as "a patriotic event of national scale.

"El Hommos Lebnaneh (Hummus is Lebanese) is an attempt to break the current Guinness world records of hummus and tabbouleh, reaffirming the Lebanese proprietorship of these two dishes," said a statement issued by the industrialist association and food syndicate, which planned the event.

A battle over hummus and tabbouleh between Lebanon and Israel -- two neighbours still technically at war -- emerged last year and efforts have been underway ever since to clearly identify such dishes as exclusively Lebanese. [...]
And what better way to prove that than cooking tons of the stuff with a lot of press coverage? Sorry to tell you this, guys, but every country in which hummus and tabouleh might have been invented, even Lebanon, had a Jewish community. Those countries account for about half the ancestry of Israel's current population. Israel has as much right as anyone else to claim hummus as its national dish. This seemingly trivial story is a good example of a common difficulty: that of seeing Israelis as anything other than transplanted Europeans.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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