Monday, October 26, 2009

Lebanon to Israel: Our Hummus Is Bigger Than Yours

The Jerusalem Post reports that Lebanon is challenging Israel for the right to claim hummus as its own. Insisting that hummus is Lebanese and not Israeli, a team of Lebanese chefs created the world's biggest plate of hummus, weighing more than two tons in a bid for recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hummus, the popular dish made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic - has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. Its exact origin is unknown, though it's generally seen as an Arab dish.

The hummus war between Lebanon and Israel has been going on for some time. Lebanese industrialists are gathering documents in preparation for suing Israel for claiming hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh as Israeli national dishes. They are basing their case on a 2002 lawsuit in the European Union brought by Greece to prevent anyone from using the term feta for cheese that was not made from Greek sheep and goats milk.

Some 300 chefs were involved in preparing Saturday's massive ceramic plate of hummus in a huge tent set up in downtown Beirut. The white-uniformed chefs used 1,350 kilograms of mashed chickpeas, 400 liters of lemon juice and 26 kilograms of salt to make the dish, weighing 2,056 kilograms.

It was not clear what the former Israeli record was, and organizers gave conflicting reports on when it was made.

But chefs and visitors broke into cheers and applause when a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records presented a certificate verifying Lebanon had broken the previous record. The plate was then decorated with the red, green and white Lebanese flag.

A similar attempt to set a new world record was to be held Sunday for the largest serving of tabbouleh, a salad made of chopped parsley and tomatoes, that Lebanon also claims as its own.

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