First the Israelis held the record. Then the Lebanese. Now Israeli Arab and Jewish chefs are working together to win back the Guinness Record for the largest plate of hummus in the world.
Juwdat Ibrahim knows very well that he could be fanning the flames for a new Middle East war. But unlike rockets, Ibrahim’s ammunition comes from a family hummus recipe.
Upping the ante against Lebanon, which retaliated against Israel’s Guinness Record last year by cooking a plate of hummus clocking in at two metric tons — about 4,500 lbs — Ibrahim’s family and friends from the village of Abu Ghosh, Israel, have set their sights on cooking the largest plate of hummus in the world this weekend.
Ibrahim founded Israel’s most famous hummus restaurant in 1993. Since then, the village’s name Abu Ghosh has been synonymous with great hummus, and also for its tolerant atmosphere, which invites Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together in co-existence.
To make it official, an expert from Guinness World Records will fly in from London on Friday to measure the final product: a four-ton (9,000 pound) plate of hummus, which is expected to take 400 volunteers about six hours of preparation and cooking to prepare.
By Ghosh they did it
Since announcing his intentions, Ibrahim, an Israeli Arab who also lives in Abu Ghosh, a village situated just off the main road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the Arab world has been paying close attention, he says. This may be partly due to the fact that different countries in the Middle East are vying to lay claim to the chickpea dip, usually eaten as breakfast with big chunks of pita bread.
Ibrahim tells ISRAEL21c he is immune to negative press attention, and says that fighting over food is much better than fighting real wars.
In recent years, Israel and Lebanon have been in stiff competition, each country trying to outdo the other with the largest bowl of dip. The Lebanese say that Israelis should keep their hands off the hummus; that it’s Lebanese food. Meanwhile, Israeli Arabs say that hummus is Palestinian food, something that has belonged to their people and culture for generations.
“It’s already news in the Arab world and they’ve been calling me since yesterday,” Ibrahim tells ISRAEL21c. “I am happy that through hummus, we can change the subject of the Middle East conflict. Fighting over food is much better than fighting over anything else.”
Ibrahim, who began organizing his crew of Muslim, Christian and Jewish volunteers two months ago, estimates that about 10,000 pita breads will be needed to consume all the hummus made on Friday. The public has been invited to come and eat.
A peace plate for the Middle East to feast on
When the Arab media asks him why such a big plate of hummus and for what, Ibrahim has the perfect answer no-one can refute: “I am saying to people in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt: I know the situation is complicated because there is no peace, but I would love it to happen one day, that we can cook one plate of hummus — about 10,000 tons — to share with the whole Middle East.”
Ibrahim is especially proud that Israeli Arabs and Jews are orchestrating this particular endeavor together. They’ve been working day and night to succeed, he says. “For us as a people, we want a normal life. We want to live in a peaceful way. Through this kind of effort and what you see in Abu Ghosh, we can show the world that we can do it.”
Abu Ghosh, he points out, is not just a village. “It is one big family of 7,000 people. We live a normal life, and accept everybody. A lot of people have moved to live in Abu Ghosh. They are Jewish, Muslim and Christian. We make them part of the family. The way we live our normal and happy lives could be an example for the whole Middle East to follow,” concludes Ibrahim.
Donors in the project include the Abu Ghosh restaurant, the Israeli supermarket chain Super Sol, and Balake, an Arab food company that makes halva.