A long time ago — 11 days in fact — we jumped all over hipster foodie and Chez Panisse veteran David Lebovitz for calling hummus an Israeli food. Lebovitz is leagues and leagues ahead of us. He’s now in Israel on a food junket. From his latest article:
Note: I’m a guest on a trip with Vibe Israel, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing Israeli culture and cuisine to others. This meal was part of that visit…
The restaurant is a Palestinian restaurant called Haj Kahil in Jaffa. Lebovitz puts the restaurant in Tel Aviv. And he never uses the word Palestinian.
“Arabic food is one of my favorite things to eat.”
More on the food of Israel from David Lebovitz:
Over one hundred cultures live in the small country of Israel, and thirty-three languages are spoken. Because people live so close together, the food traditions cross fluidly from one culture to the next here…
I’m with a small group traveling in Israel, learning about the foods and the cultures of this country that is roughly the size of New Jersey. Only sixty or so years-old, Israel is young. But it’s vibrant and brash; people will tell you what they think and expect the same out of you. (Kind of like blogging!) The uncertainty one might have about this country is tempered at the rickety linoleum tables in the back of markets where hand-pulled filo is quickly baked and drizzled with honey for you and at the juice stands which dot the streets near the beaches, pouring fresh, cold juices. But if you do want a taste of controversy, just mention the word “hummus” and you will be told by anyone within earshot where the best place is, and why it’s better than any of the other places you were at.
Controversy, yes. You went to the right place. I infer that Vibe Israel paid for Lebovitz’s trip. Here’s Vibe Israel’s About page. Emphasis mine:
Vibe Israel is an all-expenses-paid personalized experience of Israel for global on and off-line opinion leaders and makers.
Vibe Israel is sponsored by Kinetis, an Israeli promotion group. It never ends. But that makes our work, in the States, all the more challenging.