Thursday, October 9, 2008

Whose food is it anyway?

You know the Peter's principle, in which each employee tends to rise to his or her level on incompetence? Well, here's dear Rasha abu Zeki from Al Akhbar rising to that level, and dragging with her my favorite newspaper.

On today's front page of Al Akhbar, an "investigation" by Rasha about the intellectual property of "Lebanese food" and Israeli attempts to appropriate local food culture. I have written about this repeatedly, most recently here, and here and here and here

And here's a link to the blog on Traditional Lebanese Food

I have little to add to what I ave already said above, except to paraphrase what Sami Zubaida told the audience yesterday when answering a question after his talk about Ottoman cuisine: Of course these (hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, etc...) are not Israeli foods, but they certainly are not Lebanese foods either. And when someone in the room shouted "tabbouleh", he said: try convincing someone from Aleppo that Tabbouleh is Lebanese.

The foods of the region (Levant) share many similarities. They have all been influenced by the geography, and by the social and political history of the region. There MAY be "Levantine foods" although even this is arguable. Israel is NOT part of that Levant. But the Levant does certainly NOT limit itself to Lebanon. Drop the chauvinism. And don't be silly please: Tabbouleh does NOT become Lebanese because a few people with a lot of time on their hand and parsley in their garden made "the largest tabbouleh plate in the world, according to the Guinness book of records!


bech said...
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Anonymous said...

In fact, what you are saying prove that most of the products which belong to the region (Levant)are originating from lebanon..... This is how we search for the food origin