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When hummus turns bitter

When hummus turns bitter

A group of Beirut businessmen are trying to patent the chickpea appetizer as ‘Lebanese’, following rival claims from Israel.

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May 13, 2010 5:27 by



After more than 60 years of political tension, Israeli-Middle East relations are deadlocked over an odd dispute – with a culinary twist.

Following decades of analysis, negotiations, and disputes over territory, what’s to be made of the ongoing ‘war’ over the claim to hummus?

The zesty mélange of chickpeas, tahina, lemon, and oil is at the center of an increasingly rivalrous game of one-upsmanship, after Israeli in January captured the world’s record for the biggest hummus plate. The whole affair is leading casual observers and conspiracy theorists to wonder what’s behind Tel Aviv’s apparent desire to usurp Levantine culinary traditions.

Scandalized, Levantine chefs plotted a culinary “correction” of sorts, with Lebanon’s Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud promptly announcing to local media in January that the country would reclaim the world’s most enormous hummus plate honor for its rightful owners.

And earlier this month, all was put a right, as Lebanon emerged victorious and reclaimed its culinary prowess. The much-touted dish measured seven meters in diameter and one meter high – delivering more than 10,000 kg of hummus to reclaim the title for the tiny Mediterranean nation.

With enough of the delicious dip to cover each square kilometer of Lebanon with a full kilogram, Kipp is left wondering: who’s going to eat all that hummus?



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