Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Palestinian Couscous

Over the word "couscous" on the bulk bin at the Ballard Market, someone wrote the word "Palestinian". I guess it was in response to the Israeli Couscous in the neighboring bin. They probably felt that if the Israelis had a couscous, the Palestinians should have one too.

Now, I'm all in favor of a two-couscous solution, but it should have some basis in historical reality, and it should be fair to the Ethiopians and North Africans, one of whom invented the yellow variety.

Israeli couscous was invented in Tel Aviv by a company called Osem, which is one of the largest food manufaturers in the country, and is partially owned by Nestle. Morroccan Couscous has been used in North African, or Berber, cuisine for more than a thousand years. It's called maftoul in Syria, Jordan and Palestine.

Peace and love.


Reeshiez said...

Palestinian couscous is maftoul. It is just being called Palestinian couscous so that it can be marketed it the west. I have had it and it tastes exactly the same.

Adam said...

Palestinian Couscous or Maftoul has been cooked in the region of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria for generations by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian farmers. When Israel was created, it became marketed as Israeli couscous.

Now, along with tabouli, grape leaves, and other foods it is a food that is shared by both peoples!

Devra said...

I thought Maftoul was the yellow, traditional couscous, while Israeli couscous is a different animal, little white pasta balls.

strangerer said...

The little white pasta balls are not a recent Israeli invention, but the re-branding of a traditional local Palestinian couscous dish. Although the same type of couscous can be found across the Levant, as other respondents have said. You get it as far away as Thessaloniki (Salonika).