Hummus wars, as all things are considered

(Doo doo doo doo

doo doo ta doo doo)

It’s pretty interesting watching these men fight over who can make a bigger dish of the stuff.  Actually, it’s fascinating.  As at least one person says,

May all Middle East conflicts be of this type.

Here’s the crux of the matter, apparently:

… in spite of their shared appreciation, the origin of the dish is a source of heated debate with the Lebanese claiming ownership and Israelis denying that they have exclusive rights to the name.

Lebanon has been seeking approval from the European Union to register hummus as a national dish.

“What we have been trying to do is just what the Greeks have done with feta cheese,” said Fadi Abboud, president of The Association of Lebanese Industrialists, in January.

In 2002, the European Commission gave Greece a “protected designation of origin” right to the name “feta,” for the white sheep and goat’s milk cheese made there. Similar cheeses from outside the country must use terms like “Greek-style cheese”.

Abboud maintains that Israeli companies are depriving Lebanese companies of huge potential earnings by exporting hummus made using traditional Lebanese recipes.

The Israelis see things differently.

“Trying to make a copyright claim over hummus is like claiming for the rights to bread or wine,” said Shooky Galili, an Israeli whose blog, dedicated to all things hummus, bears the credo “give chickpeas a chance.”

I looked up this guy’s blog, of course, and he doesn’t have anything from the recent battles, but he has his own very cute version of the war.

What got me started on this, of all things?  Well, being here in Israel and reading about it, always having security in the back of my mind, for one thing.  And vigilance is tiring.  So to read something that is slightly amusing and well, pretty much how boys do things, is a welcome diversion.  It’s similar to all the sports play-offs going on now that are so interesting with their attraction of partisanship.  Yes, I’m pleased when “my” teams win, but I also don’t care so much when they lose.

But Israel?  I get when they do something well and it gets good press.  I also get when someone else blames them for doing something that either

  • everyone else does,
  • they actually aren’t doing,
  • or they’re doing it for a really really good reason!

But what made me write about this now was another article I just read that is absolutely fascinating (I need some more synonyms for my hyperboles).

Kerem and his team believe that prehistoric humans knew instinctively that chickpeas offered something valuable and unique in their diet. “Ancient man was not just looking at the field, he was using his senses,” says Kerem. “We believe they could distinguish the higher level of tryptophan in the chickpeas and knew that it was good for them.”The move to farming was an extremely significant period in human development. It marked the end of a nomadic existence, and the start of a stable and increasingly complex social structure. In this environment, social behavior and the ability to adapt to change was more important than ever.

“We know that higher tryptophan levels allow better functioning under stress, and changing demographics like the crowding associated with living in communities, is inevitably associated with stress,” says Abbo. “In this situation, higher availability of tryptophan becomes an advantage, as it also does in times of human expansion. It is clear that Neolithic humans made a special effort to overcome the difficulties involved in growing chickpeas because they realized that it gave them a unique addition to their diet.”

So you might know where I’m going with this, but here goes:

All we are saying is give chick peas a chance.


One response

  1. Pingback: food, as most things should be considered « But Mostly Hers

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