in Extra Matter

Hummus: for better or worse

The owner of a hummus cafe in Kfar Vitkin, a tiny settlement north of Netanya in Israel, is offering a 50 percent discount to mixed tables of Arabs and Jews. Some people have taken up the offer, others refused and said that they wanted to “support the initiative”. Heart-warming stuff. (There are various versions of the story around, but I read it on Al Jazeera, which has the most “context”.)

Meanwhile … Over at Boston University, Ari Ariel, head of the Gastronomy program, delivered a lecture on “Hummus Wars: Buying and Boycotting Middle Eastern Foods”. Citing a long-standing rivalry between Israel and Lebanon for bragging rights to the world record for largest hummus dish — currently held by Lebanon with around ten tonnes of hummus — Ariel “views the hummus record as an extension of the political climate”. Lebanon has been seeking a protected designation of origin for hummus since 2008. Israel, and probably much of the rest of the Near East, objects.

Sounds to me like a recipe for disaster, although I have been unable to discover what has become of Lebanon’s idea.

And finally, there is The Hummus Blog. Dig deep!

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