Just when you thought international relations couldn’t get any trickier…it turns out not even the humble chick pea is safe from escalating tensions. Lebanon announced a couple of weeks ago that it’s filing an international lawsuit against the nation of Israel for, among other things, marketing hummus as one of its proud national dishes. This is shameful, the lawsuit says, because hummus is not an Israeli food but an original Lebanese one, and Israel’s nefarious ways have led to losses in the millions of dollars.
Apparently it’s a legitimate lawsuit, thanks to something called the “feta precedent,” in which the European parliament awarded the nation of Greece a monopoly on the production of feta cheese, because Greece proved that it had originated and been produced there for centuries.
Unfortunately, the origins of hummus are less clear. What’s not a mystery, though, is that hummus-related disputes in the Middle East — I am now certain — will play a role in the coming apocalypse.
Random hummus-related trivia:
• My wife and I quote lines from “Friends” to each other all the time, because we’re dorks. One of the quotes that gets the most rotation is from the first season when George Clooney and Noah Wyle guest-starred. Monica made hummus, which George and Noah dined upon during an awkward fight between Monica and Rachel. Lacking anything appropriate to say, they simply praised the hummus, including this line from Clooney: “God bless the chick pea.” Rarely do I consume hummus without recycling that quote.
• Best hummus I ever consumed? No contest. It was from Papa Cristo’s Greek Restaurant in L.A. I met Papa “Chrys Chrys” Cristo himself. He’s about 4 ft. 10 in. tall — which is about as tall as his mustache is wide.
• Do not confuse hummus with haggis. Both foods are savory international exports and share some common letters and consonant placement, but that doesn’t make them the same. Besides, “God bless the sheep’s heart, liver and lungs” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.