Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummus, hummus 
everywhere ...  

Prof. As'ad AbuKhalil gets up in the morning and has hummus on his mind. And Israel is never far from his mind. So the two subjects somehow collide in that highly intellectual and sophisticated mind of his, and, presto, a news item is manufactured for his "Angry Arab News Service" (the only news fit to read by the fabled Arab street). As usual, whenever Israel is mentioned, it is a post dripping with venom:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummus and Israel     

It occurred to me that Israel only recently started to claim that Hummus is an Israeli dish. In the Israeli media and (stolen) "culture", there were no references about the Hummus craze until relatively recently the 1980s.  Yet, I grew up with Hummus (and "ful", fava beans) stores all over the cities and towns of the Lebanon.  So how is that explained? Is there a divine explanation for this one too?

I remember growing up in Israel where felafel and hummus stands were to be found at every street corner.  You don't have to take my word for it. Here is Yotam Ottolenghi's own memory of it:

"both chefs got in plenty of trouble as kids for their love of a street-fresh falafel sandwich on the way home from school. Ottolenghi recalls trying to resist temptation:
"You know you shouldn't buy yourself falafel in a pita because you're going to have
lunch served in five minutes, but you really, really must have it. ... You arrive back home, you're so full, your shirt is covered with tahini sauce, it's been dripping all over you ... and we literally had the same experiences, the angry mother, the falafel, the whole thing is so similar in many ways, and we were really living in two separate cultures."

AbuKhalil likes to pretend, I daresay, that all Israelis are of the gefiltefish eating variety. The fact that more than 50% of Israelis are refugees from Arab lands* doesn't jive with his favourite narratives about European colonization.

And "... hummus ... is, of course, an Arab dish that has its variations all over the wider region from Persia to Greece, adopted by the Israelis as one of their national treasures and turned into an obsession."

 AbuKhalil doesn't mind Persian hummus, Greek hummus, Romanian hummus, only Israeli hummus gets his goat! Hummus made by Israeli hands is haram! Why? Need we pry any deeper into that hate-corroded soul for a plausible answer? For the same reason he conveniently forgets that 50%++ of Israeli Jews originate in Arab lands and when their parents and grandparents had arrived in Israel, they did not fall in love with the Yiddish cuisine but preferred to cook and eat the kind of foods they had eaten for many centuries. Somewhat like AbuKhalil himself who prefers to eat, in California of the US of A the foods he had eaten when he was growing up in Lebanon, things like hummus and fried eggplants, or whatever.

Can we suspect AbuKhalil of being racist for pretending Israelis are all white Ashkenazi colonizers who steal  "Palestinian" ownership of hummus? Or a hypocrite, for allowing himself what he denies to others?

From the self-proclaimed anarchist who says: "I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms, but...for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything." this is par for the course.

The term 'hypocrite' fails to do justice to this person.


AbuKhalil to the rescue, providing a quote from Ottolenghi, here:
"Chickpeas have been around for thousands of years in the Middle East, says Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Some scholars even claim an Old Testament passage indicates that Jews ate hummus in Biblical times."
Now where is Hummus mentioned in the bible? Here, Ruth, chapter 2, verse 14:

And Boaz told her at the lunch break: Come here and share the bread and dip your pita in the chickpeas. So she sat with the other harvesters and he served her some of the cooked (roasted?) grains, and she ate her fill and even left some ...

ויאמר לה בעז לעת
האכל גשי הלם
ואכלת מן־הלחם
וטבלת פתך בחמץ
ותשב מצד הקוצרים
ויצבט־לה קלי
 ותאכל ותשבע ותתר׃

The Israeli author Meir Shalev explains the linguistic argument for hummus in the Bible.

Bottom line is important, making humus doesn't require great intelligence, it's not quantum theory:

And Professor Felix says that this ? [unclear] hamitz, a mixture of hamitz, is the hummus. And a mixture, it mean something like, like a porridge. Something which is soft, and, and you we know that the plant hummus...himtza in Hebrew...

The chickpea?
...the chickpea was known here for about 4,000 years. The problem is whether our ancestors already knew how to mash it, and add some tahina, and olive oil, and garlic, and lemon, and salt, whatever, you know...the secret form-, formulas of, of hummus. Or maybe they et- [sic], ate it as, as the seed.

You know, maybe they burnt it in fire. Maybe they cooked it. We still cook it today, and eat it with black pepper and, and salt. It's very good.

And, and I feel that it's not such an ingenious unpredictable idea to, to mash the cooked hummus peas, and make it as a porridge, and eat it. We do the same with potatoes. We do the same with, with beans. This is something which is very easy to do.

Israeli hummus recipe:

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 cup tahina
1/2 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
2 cloves garlics (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Greek hummus recipe:

1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1 lemon
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves chopped
A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 rounded tablespoons tahini paste
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup kalamata olives, well drained, coarsely chopped
1 sack pita chips, sea salt variety (recommended: Stacy's)
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into sticks for dipping
A medium red pepper, seeded and cut into strips for dipping

Romanian humus recipe:

  • 1 Can White Kidney Bean
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Onions – Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


* The mid-20th century  uprooting of Jews from the Middle East Arab countries was a traumatic event.  Entire communities were dislodged and removed from places where they had dwelt for centuries and even millennia.  Yet this drama remains recondite and often suppressed. There is a kind of collaborative effort at work suppressing the still deeply felt pain of this catastrophe. One reason for the silence is that Human rights organizations fear that recognizing  the mass removal  of Jews from Arab countries as the Arab-ethnic cleansing of Jews may jeopardize the status of Palestinian refugees who claim that they were ethnically cleansed from the land of Palestine with the creation of the state of Israel. (Une si longue présence : Comment le monde arabe a perdu ses juifs, 1947-1967)


At 11:26 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have so much hate that you can't even see straight. Hummus is Israeli. Maybe it is Arab too. How nice that Arabs and Jews shared some recipes because that is how cooking and cuisines work around the world. You don't own your own culture in an exclusive sense. Get over your hate for Israel before it kills you because I can promise you that you will die long before Israel ceases to exist.

At 11:30 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how I feel about all the anti-Israel commenters. I think us Zionists need to respond without hate, but refuse to back down and respond with brutal honesty and complete disregard for anti-Israel opinions.


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