tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Israel facing hollow cost of hummus

The Israeli ministry of preemptive strikes has warned the government that the country is falling dangerously behind its rivals in the Middle East's newest arms race, known as the Hummus War.

Over the weekend, Lebanon put on a show of force, announcing to the world that it had added to its arsenal a 2056-kilogram bowl of hummus and a 3557-kilogram bowl of tabbouleh.

Both dishes are world records; previously America held the hummus record at a mere 363 kilos. The tabbouleh included 1600 kilos of parsley, a forest roughly the size of the Negev.

Thousands of Lebanese nationalists marched through the streets of downtown Beirut behind the parade of oversized mezze, singing and chanting provocative slogans aimed squarely at their country's rival.

"Our aim is clear," said one Lebanese chef who asked not to be named Suleiman. "These dishes should be exclusively Lebanese, with an appellation similar to Greek feta, Scotch whisky, and Canadian bacon."

Israel remains in a state of high alert and extreme hunger (a southerly wind carried the aroma across the border from Lebanon).

"It's a new cold war," said an aide to Israel's minister of offensive food, "insofar as most of these dishes are served cold. Okay, some of them are better at room temperature. But I think I've made my point, which is that Israel will not be wiped off the map."

Indeed, many outside observers note that because the Israeli military has invested only in tanks and razor wire and nuclear weapons, the country is ill-equipped to match weaponry in this new theatre of war.

The government of Lebanon has maintained that these colossal plates of hummus and tabbouleh are defensive deterrents, existing to keep the country safe (and very, very regular). But at the sight of all those pureed chick peas, Lebanon's masses are primed for war.

One thing appears certain: If Israel tries to break the record, Lebanon will have the garbanzos to fight back.

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