Guilty falafel pleasures

Guilty falafel pleasures

In tribute of my new favorite site, richkidsofinstagram.tumblr.com this post was to be about Champagne. Particularly, Armand de Brignac, colloquially ‘Ace of Spades’ after the logo. However, thinking about pairings, I couldn’t go past an ironic one, and another guilty pleasure of mine, the traditional Arab street food falafel. As it turns out Champagne and the humble chickpea falafel have a lot in common.

According to French law, in order for a wine to bear the name Champagne, it must be produced in that region of north-western France. Along the same lines the Association of Lebanese Industrialists is planning to file a lawsuit against the state of Israel for misappropriating traditional Lebanese delicacies such as falafels, claiming that falafel is the property of Lebanon and Lebanon alone. The precedent being the case that Greece launched in 2002 to get the exclusive rights to the term ‘feta’ cheese in the EU. This is despite a number of other groups, including the Palestinians, claiming they invented the falafel.

Since my time in Israel, where the falafel is wildly considered to be the national dish, I’ve always been drawn to warm balls drizzled with tahini. In fact, I polished my ball skills under the tutelage of Israeli man, but now I have weightier culinary issues on my mind when eating them. Particularly the guilt of enjoying something that has created so much resentment amongst Palestinians for what they see as the appropriation of their dish by Israelis.

As well as falafel, the Lebanese group are also claiming tabbouleh as their own, said to be a product of Ottoman Syria which includes the modern states of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Why can’t we all get along through food?

I’m planning a new feature for the sad pig. Ask Alex. If you have questions you’d like me to answer, join in the discussion here, or on Twitter and Facebook.

I’d also like to thank Chris Goldberg for making his photo of the line at L’as du Fallafel, Paris available under a creative commons license.