Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Canadian in Abu Dhabi abruptly stops eating hummus after stumbling across the world's largest bowl while on a mini-break in Beirut

We were wandering through the streets of downtown Beirut a few weeks ago when we stumbled across a busy-looking market and went inside. After making our way past a random assortment of kiosks, selling everything from black studded "I heart Lebanon" baseball caps, children's toys, beer and bottles of Arak, a fiery – and strong! – aniseed liqueur of the region, we noticed one serious commotion.

Turns out about 250 chefs had gathered to make the world's largest bowl of hummus in an attempt to reclaim their Guinness World Record from Israel. (Apparently to add to simmering political tensions in the region, Lebanon accuses Israel of claiming to have invented some of the most popular Middle Eastern dishes.)

The bottom line is this bowl contained two tons of hummus – kept cold by a complex equation shown below.

I am sure I do not have to point out it is quite a lot of hummus. Quite possibly too much hummus to see in one all at once, even for an avid hummus fan such as myself. And so, after 18 months of eating several tubs of hummus several times a week (and not eating more simply because that would be too much, but wanting to) all it took was the sight of so much of it in one place at one time to quell my cravings. When I think about hummus now, the big bowl presides.

Thank goodness we did not return for the biggest bowl of tabouleh the next night. Losing that as a staple would be too much to bear.

And just to reiterate:

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