Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hummus is to Lebanon as Feta is to Greece

Nearly three years ago the EU declared that Feta is Greek, no questions asked. Well, now it is hummus's turn! It turns out that Lebanon is tired of it's tasty spread being claimed by Mediterranean neighbors as their own.

While an argument can be made that all of us in the general vicinity have been building off of each other's culinary traditions over the last 2,000 years, I stand by the Lebanese on this one. Of course, I'd ask the same favor in return for tzatziki and taramosalata, okay?!

I'm particularly irritated at how SABRA, one particularly popular brand of hummus in the States, uses Greek accents to market the product with little actual connection. In fact, the name of the product itself, Sabra, is term used to describe a native-born Israeli Jew.

- Music on the website ... very Greek-sounding
- Images on website ... very Greek-inspired (Mykonos to be specific - thank you windmills!)
- Winning user-generated video ... very Greek-attired Evzone imitator

Frankly, it seems to me like a way to make the product more acceptable. Following the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and Greek yogurt, this is now a way to make the healthy, exotic connection. In my humble opinion, it is also a way to distance the product from the meaning of its name for fear that it might alienate some consumers.

In any case, I don't like it. I agree with Lebanon - hummus is Lebanese.


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