Thursday, July 20, 2006

Couscous UPDATED

Today at Sahadi's I couldn't quite get myself to buy Lebanese couscous. I can't imagine much of the tiny amount the couscous costs ends up in the hands of Hezbollah--and the store itself is Lebanese, so obviously I wasn't going all the way with this-- but I couldn't quite picture, when there were so many couscous-name options, getting one so controversial. Part of it, most of it really, was that the couscous so labelled is the kind usually called "Israeli couscous." As confirmed by different sources, Israeli couscous--the large, tapioca-like couscous that's gummier and thus better than the normal kind-- is not technically couscous, and is in fact an Israeli, or at least Jewish, invention. This is not like those cucumbers, sometimes called Persian and other times Israeli depending upon how deep into the Upper West Side your supermarket is, this is a question of accuracy. So it looks like Sahadi's was not just making a point by calling their large couscous "Lebanese." They were lying.

Rather than doing right thing and leaving the store, I went for the neutrally-named but slightly smaller "Mediterranean couscous." It was most delicious, with chopped arugula (origin unknown) and Bulgarian feta. That said, perhaps for next time I should seek out an alternative. Since I'm pretty sure it's my once-a-year grain purchases deciding this whole thing.


The culinary aspect of the Israel-Lebanon conflict is expressed most clearly--and tragically--in the best movie of all time, "Yossi and Jagger." The army cook is extremely talented, so much so that the highest-ranking official wants him to stay in the army forever. (His creation--"meatball sushi," aka "sashkimi," is apparently quite tasty.) The cook will have none of it, and invites his superior to the French-Lebanese restaurant he plans to open after military service. All of this is being discussed, weirdly enough, as the soldiers prepare for a standoff on the border with Lebanon. Peace is when we can all cook and eat whatever we please, and when cute boys can share queen-size beds in Eilat. I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I'll just leave it as the French-Lebanese restaurant is rendered, if not impossible, unlikely.


Anonymous said...

Eilat is for teenage girls and eurotrash rejects. Not for strapping young army men.

Phoebe said...

The reason I mentioned Eilat is that that's where Jagger suggests vacationing with Yossi... right.

The Lioness said...

Er, I think you could strap anything really in Eilat. I lived there for a year and a half. Tourists were busy, and so was everybody else. Must have been the skimpy clothing and the heat, though scorched nostrils never did much for my randiness. I didn't enjoy living there so much but to be fair Eilat is actually for all sorts, birds included.

You really liked Y&J, I'm always surprised when someone does. I found it a bit too schmalzy, didn't grip me at all. Walk on Water I absolutely loved, so cannot wait till I see his next movie.