Monday, October 24, 2005

How Many Licks?

There's a new Arab-American heritage museum in Dearborn, Michigan called the Arab-American National Museum.

According the the NYT report,

Four Arab-Americans claimed to have invented the ice cream cone

And how many created the falafel?

But, to be fair, here's what one source claims:

The first true edible conical shaped cone for serving ice cream was created at the St. Louis Worlds Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904. His waffle booth was next to an ice cream vendor who ran short of dishes. Hamwi rolled a waffle to contain ice cream and the cone was born. Hamwi was of Syrian descent and holds Patent 1,342,045 issued June 1, 1920.

But this site gives a more in-depth historical over-view which points to Italian and English origins even if the four Arabs seem to have the modern patent claim, er, wrapped up.

And as for falafel, see this (no link)
Falafel: A National Icon
Yael Raviv
Gastronomica, Summer 2003, Vol. 3, No. 3, Pages 20-25

and this:

origin is uncertain, it is believed that it originally came from India, where it was made with spiced soured bread. The word "falafel" comes from the Arabic word فلفل (filfil), meaning pepper, and probably ultimately from Sanskrit pippalī. Falafel (at least the Middle Eastern style) is made from field beans, chick peas or any combination of the two. The Egyptian variation exclusively uses fava beans, while other variations may exclusively use chick peas. What makes falafel different from many other bean patties is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked, possibly skinned, then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.


My friend Ilana Brown pointed out to me this sentence in the article on the museum:

"There have been significant populations of Arab Jews in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Morocco," the museum notes. That ancient world (which until the 1940's included more than 900,000 Jews) is represented by a photograph of a Tunisian synagogue - the same one, the exhibit fails to mention, that was bombed by Al Qaeda operatives in 2002.

And what the NYT fails to mention is that the date "the 1940's" is a euphemism for the establishment of the state of Israel which led to a policy of forced emmigration from those countries.

A story which is told here and here


NG said...

The Jews who lived in countries like Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Morocco "until the 1940's" were not "Arab Jews." Though they were Jews who spoke Arabic, their presence in those countries often predated the Arabs' by several hundred years, or in the case of the Babylonian Jewish community, a millennium.

At the dawn of Islamic history, there were Arab Jewish tribes in the Middle East, but Muslim sources document how those tribes were exterminated according to the orders of Muhammad.

YMedad said...

you're right but I was being quick with my words and instead iof writng Jews living/residing in Arab lands...etc.", I shortened it.
However, there is a minority of extreme left/liberal/progressive academics (Sami Michael, Shen'hav, etc.) who wish to adopt an Arab character and do so retroactively.
Oh well. Jews.