Friday, June 01, 2007

Hummus Wars

Vegan "maqluba" at Saha in San Francisco (May 2007)

Shooky Galili, Ynet columnist and freelancer, has launched two new blogs, one in Hebrew and one in English, devoted to one of humanity's great inventions - hummus. The Hebrew version, חומוס להמונים (Hummus for the Masses) is more relevant to people in Israel, as it contains reviews of humusiyot (hummus eateries) across the country, and even excursions into the land of the sabih. Note to Ariel: we should have gone to this place instead. The English-language edition, "The Hummus Blog," is more basic and touchingly earnest at times but still informative. Galili is clearly on a mission.

Some of you may have seen the "hummus dictionary" by Galili that appeared on Ynet and was subsequently denounced as "orientalist" by one of Angry Arab's cronies. To be fair, the English version of that article was a bit silly at times. But as a reader of AbuKhalil's blog, Anonymous 5:26 pm, pointed out, it is a very poor translation of the original article.

If you are in a place far from real hummus, I do not recommend reading Galili's blogs. Jeha, on the other hand, might be inclined to dispute Galili's assertion of Israeli/Palestinian hummus's superiority over the Lebanese variety, with a nice bowl of the stuff in front of him.

Another note: I know that some of you occasionally see me in the "Sunrise Deli" here in Berkeley. Well, I am done with that place. Is there anyone else who is sick of the mediocre quality of most of the food, the small portions, high prices, and miserable excuse for customer service? Sorry for being harsh on the poor people, but I am disappointed every time I walk out the door. It's still the best in Berkeley, I guess (which goes to show you how terrible the hummus conditions here are).

Seeing as this post has devolved outside our usual format, I'll take up the game of tag that Jeha is currently playing. So Kishkushim, specifically the "Gaza or Bust" post, has been tagged as one of "5 blogs that made [Jeha] think." So here are 5 blogs that I've been looking at recently:

1. Obviously Jeha's Nail - for unmatched erudition and hilarious videos.
2. The Head Heeb - great writing and unparalleled scope.
3. The Happy Arab News Service - for Nobody's dry humor and hard-hitting realism.
4. Nizo's Blog - for the refreshing perspectives, innuendo, and exchanges in the comments section.
5. The Augean Stables - thorough.

7 comments:

Jeha said...

So it War indeed... First the Falafel, then the Tabbouleh, now the Hommos.

Next thing you know, the Greeks will want to muscle in on Arak, the French of our wine, and the Persians will reach for our Narguilehs (I'm referring those Beqaa "Rockets")... Even those sissy Italians will want to claim Olive oil as theirs.

This culinary imperialism's gotta to stop.

ariel said...

I could really go for some falafel from "the magician" on the corner of King George and Shlomo Hamelekh, but I'm not sure it's worth the $1500 flight. I'm also a (post)modern, which means I appreciate all things syncretic, i.e. schnitzel with salat aravi and french fries in pita, a true Israeli invention.

yonit said...

You men always think about everything in "struggle" or possessive categories. Why not try to look at it as "fusion" instead of culinary imperialism? Why not look at it as a chance of dialog, devoid of all fake ideologies and actual petty interests of our leaders? Can you get any closer to a different culture than by intimate knowledge of its tastes?

And anyway, you cannot compare Israelis to French or Greeks in culinary matters. All Jewish-Israeli food has recent foreign origins. My culinary heritage, for instance, is Gullash and Letcho, though I've never been to Hungary and can't pronounce a single word in the language that was supposed to be my mother-tongue.

shooky from The hummus blog said...

As far as I know, falafel was invented by the Egyptian Copts. The first documented use of chickpeas to make Hummus was by the crusaders, who were certainly not Arab.

On the other hand, everybody knows Arabs make the best falafel and hummus today. So the question who invented it is less important.

'Atsbani said...

Yonit,
I am not sure who your comment is aimed at, but I think Jeha was joking. Indeed, the whole point of his comment is that it's ridiculous to make property claims about food and culture.
As for this being about men and women, maybe you're right, but look at Shirin's ardent defense of the Palestinian falafel, and Jonathan Edelstein's response to it.

prof said...

hello
vous pouvez poster vos infos sur jewisheritage
a bientot

shalom

Nobody said...

;)

thanks