The Falafel war has just begun

205325135_cc9fabd1f9

While surfing Naharnet today I came across this dangerous news:

Lebanon in War with Israel but this Time on Falafel

Director General of the Lebanese Industrialists Association Saadeddine al-Owaini is urging Arab countries to participate in the campaign launched against Israel for “stealing the region’s dishes.”
Owaini announced that he will start contacting the region’s ambassadors to urge them to take part in the campaign after a tehini-filled falafel marketed under the Ta’amti brand won the prize for the best food from Israel at the Kosherfest food and beverage trade event, held in New Jersey last month.

The trade fair is held once a year in New Jersey under the slogan “Where trends emerge and traditions continue.”

Owaini further complained that Israel is exporting the boxed falafel to make huge sums of money and without having played any role in the appearance of such a dish in the region.

Owaini said he will send a letter to the Lebanese economy and trade ministry to urge it to complain to international authorities. To retaliate, he vowed to prepare the biggest falafel and enter the Guinness book of records to remind the world that falafel is not Israeli.

Source

It seems that the Israelis are really enjoying this food fight! In brief, an Israeli company is marketing a tahini filled Falafel under the name of Taamti, and they won a prize for it being the best Israeli food. Now guess who started complaining! Mr. Saadeddine Owaini.

But since we, the Lebanese people, are known to quickly respond to any threat, and since setting a world record became a piece of cake to us, Mr. Owaini decided that we will be making the world’s biggest Falafel to enter the Guinness book and remind the whole world that the Falafel is indeed Lebanese.

I wonder how is this big piece of Falafel going to fit into a sandwich? Or are we going to also make the world’s biggest Arabic bread?

By the way, how about a better idea other than setting records to defend our Lebanese cuisine? I suggest “striking” the Jewish cuisine and start exporting some of their cooking as Lebanese products. That would be cool! ;)

The Falafel photo is via Flickr.

Director General of the Lebanese Industrialists Association Saadeddine al-Owaini is urging Arab countries to participate in the campaign launched against Israel for “stealing the region’s dishes.”
Owaini announced that he will start contacting the region’s ambassadors to urge them to take part in the campaign after a tehini-filled falafel marketed under the Ta’amti brand won the prize for the best food from Israel at the Kosherfest food and beverage trade event, held in New Jersey last month.

The trade fair is held once a year in New Jersey under the slogan “Where trends emerge and traditions continue.”

Owaini further complained that Israel is exporting the boxed falafel to make huge sums of money and without having played any role in the appearance of such a dish in the region.

Owaini said he will send a letter to the Lebanese economy and trade ministry to urge it to complain to international authorities. To retaliate, he vowed to prepare the biggest falafel and enter the Guinness book of records to remind the world that falafel is not Israeli.

, , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to The Falafel war has just begun

  1. Maya November 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    Oh please not another giant food record! :’( Cloudy with a chance of meatballs has apparently impacted the world. They also did the largest tiramisu in France and the largest meatball in the US last week.

  2. Hani November 7, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Chef Ramzi is breaking records…
    But a question, Falafel is not Egyptian??? Since they have Foul and Ta3miah, the difference between our Falafel and the Egyptian one is the hole is the middle…
    Any idea when we will make the biggest Koushari plate???
    Proudly!

  3. Posh November 8, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    I doubt there is such a thing as “Jewish” or “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Hindu” food. And I think you need to be very careful when you make such distinctions.

    Maybe the Lebanese government should invest more into academic research, let’s say at AUB or any of the other good schools here in Lebanon that are quite growing especially in the fields of historical research. Research that attempts to identify the origins of certain foods. I have no doubt that it will be discovered that many of these foods are shared by most Levantine countries, including what was previously Palestine and now is Israel.

    What I am trying to say that when talking about cultural heritage, sometimes geography plays a much more important role here than does religion. Especially in this case. Since Israel is a newly constructed nation as we know it, I doubt we could accept its labels on Levantine foods, which long predated Israel. I would call this an attempt at appropriating a certain culture that may, broadly speaking, belong to the Levant, and reshape it to exclusively belong to the Israeli name.

    I think the Guinness thing is a cool idea, although the Lebanese seem to have been taking it overboard. But I insist on academic research. The only problem about that is that this kind of research might yield results, which most Lebanese nationalists may find hard to ingest.

    I doubt Lebanese nationalists will accept this from me but… Lebanon, like Israel, is a newly constructed nation. Apart from the writings of Maronite enthusiasts and other Orientalists, the idea of a Lebanese state as we know it today never existed beyond the confines of Mount Lebanon. Thanks to the French and brilliant Maronite lobbyists, Lebanon exists (and I mean this in the best of intentions). However, I also feel the same way about how the Lebanese have been doing just as the Israelis by actively and collectively reconstructing their cultural heritage through plagiarizing what I may call the Levantine cuisine.

    Sorry for the history lesson. Lol.

  4. Rami November 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    @Posh
    Enjoyed reading your comment! It’s nice to know how you see it from a historian point of view.
    Regarding the “Jewish cuisine”, well I was obviously referring to the Israeli cuisine (which I also doubt that it really exists), but I chose the wrong words.

  5. Fadi November 11, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    Your final suggestion makes sense: we need to compete with Israeli products abroad. Lebanese products are SO DAMN expensive here in Switzerland, but when you get to the Israeli section, it’s almost half the price on every item. You can even find Israeli fruit and vegetables here, but the only natural Lebanese thing you find in Europe is Red Lebanese.

    If we want to reaffirm ourselves, we really have to get ourselves together and start exporting properly to be able to compete with the Israeli prices.

    Though, fighting with falafel, hommos and tabboulé is better than to fight with bombs and Katioucha!

  6. theFool November 18, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    In Montreal, There is a Clear distinction between Lebanese Food, and any other. I also heard but cannot confirm, that Lebanese Food is the 3rd most franchised food after Greek and Italian.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention The Falafel war has just begun | +961 -- Topsy.com - November 6, 2009

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rami Fayoumi and Safadi FoundationUSA, Omar Z. Hamoui. Omar Z. Hamoui said: RT @Plus961: The Falafel war has just begun http://is.gd/4P1or [...]

  2. Yet another Guinness world record: Longest bar in Jounieh | +961 - August 24, 2011

    [...] world record: Longest bar in Jounieh August 24th, 2011 Rami Leave a comment Go to comments This madness doesn’t seem like ending anytime soon, now we’re all set to break the Guinness record [...]

Leave a Reply