I was watching M6 on Saturday and I happened to come across the 12:45 News. Towards the end, they did a short segment called “L’essor de la cuisine israelienne”, or the boom of the Israeli cuisine. The first thing the guy in that segment was preparing was hummus; mashed chickpeas, garlic, salt, lemon juice and tahini. He didn’t even bother add or change anything about it, and bluntly called it hummus. Of course, he also presented falafel and other dishes as part of the Israeli cuisine but I was already fuming when I saw the hummus.
I know Israel has been integrating hummus and other Lebanese dishes as part of its cuisine; this is not news. But to see a French channel shedding the light on it like it was the most natural thing ever was my tipping point. I’ve always wanted my blog to be exclusively about good food around Lebanon, but I just couldn’t let it pass. This is not normal. I wonder how the French would have reacted if Italy started claiming that ratatouille or boeuf bourguignon were Italian dishes and part of the Italian cuisine. Would they have been so open and cool about the idea? I don’t think so.
I’m sick and tired of watching our culinary identity being stolen away from us and promoted as another country’s identity. I wish I could do something more about it, but this is my personal step towards hopefully setting the record straight once and for all. Hummus, the way we know it, is and will always be a Lebanese dish; get your facts straight M6 and next time you’re doing a segment on a cuisine, learn the history and culture of that cuisine first.