Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Equalizer 

AbuKhalil is outraged:

"Can you imagine if the New York Times were to refer to a Jewish traditional meal in such language? Can you imagine the uproar and the calls for boycott?

This is about a traditional Egyptian meal:  "Both the holiday and its stinky meal"....
Well, for
1. Jews have better sense than to eat a rotten fish dish*, no matter how ancient the tradition is. 

2. Here is from wikipedia about this particular traditional dish:

Fesikh (Egyptian Arabic: فسيخ fesīḵ  pronounced [feˈsiːx, fɪˈsiːx]) is a traditional Egyptian fish dish consisting of fermented salted and dried gray mullet, of the mugil family, a saltwater fish that lives in both the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. [1] Fesikh is eaten during the Sham el-Nessim festival, which is a spring celebration from ancient times in Egypt.
The traditional process of preparing Fesikh is to dry the fish in the sun before preserving it in salt. The process of is quite elaborate, passing from father to son in certain families. The occupation has a special name in Egypt, fasakhani. Egyptians in the West have used whitefish as an alternative. Each year food poisoning tales involving incorrectly prepared fesikh appear in Egyptian periodicals.
In April 2012, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued recalls for whole fesikh mullet, cut up fesikh mullet in oil, and whole fesikh shad that were sold from a store in Toronto. There were 3 reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the products, which may have been contaminated with Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

Considering that it is not just potentially poisonous dish, calling it a "stinky"meal is not exactly an overstatement. (We usually stay away from stinky food --rightly so-- suspecting it might be rotting and harmful to our health). Still, the author should have stuck to more scientific language and called it "ill-smelling fermented fish dish" to arrive at the same affect without unduly ruffling Angry Arab's tender feelings.

3. Why is it that every time something  suspiciously pejorative is said about Arab or Muslim cultures, AA immediately leaps in with: Imagine if they said that about the Jews...!!! Why doesn't he ever think to say, just for the sake of keeping up an appearance of disinterest:  Imagine if they said that about the Chinese? Or the Buddhists? Or Christians? Nah. it wouldn't have the same lip-smacking affect and it wouldn't be so terribly enjoyable.  You see, as far as AA is concerned, Jews are being singled out for the utmost delicate treatment by the media and in other things, like history and such like. So he just points out how unfair it is, how lopsided, how inciting it is to speak of "stinky"" Egyptian meals and not stinky Jewish meals, considering that Jews have always enjoyed such solicitous tenderness from everybody.  He is the EQUALIZER (؟)


* The closest one can get to a Jewish unappetising fish dish would be the famous and nearly inedible gefiltefish which every Jew and his cousin likes to make fun of. It is sweet and floats in some sort of congealed aspic almost designed I suspect to put you off your dinner.


At 12:05 AM EDT, Anonymous migreli said...

Gefilte fish is a great delicacy. Try it again some time, you might like it now.

Grey mullet is also a marvelous fish, and is called Bouri by Israeli Arabs. It is best fresh out of the sea and lightly fried in batter. All of Jaffa's seafood restaurants serve it cooked this way. The dried and fermented version is probably too strongly flavoured for palates that are unused to it.

At 7:08 AM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Last August I ate at an Arab-owned Jaffa restaurant "The old man and the sea" but I don't think it was bouri. The fish was grilled. Very tasty. Not what is called "fine dining" but great food, generous and a great view of the sea at sunset.


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