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May the 13th is International Hummus Day. So tonight, grab your crackers and dip and check out “Make Hummus Not War” which asks – could a regional love of hummus be the recipe for peace in the Middle East?
Hummus is the oldest-known prepared foods in human history, and its invention is claimed by multiple Middle Eastern nationalities.
In 2008, Association of Lebanese Industrialists petitioned the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade to request that the European Commission recognise hummus as uniquely Lebanese, which would potentially give them the rights to sue Israeli companies for producing and exporting hummus.
Trevor Graham, Australian filmmaker and hummus lover, was hooked. With Israel, Lebanon and Palestine fighting once again — over who ‘owns’ the hummus heritage — he set off on a personal journey into a colourful culinary history. But is it possible that these countries’ shared love of hummus could actually unite them, rather than tear them apart? Follow Graham as he looks for the answer, on his humorous journey to hummus bars across the Middle East.
“Make Hummus Not War” took two years to make across multiple countries, but Graham found that even the difficulties of filming in the Middle East were mitigated when he told people what his film was about. In The Film Reporter, Graham described a situation in which he and his guide got past a security checkpoint by talking about the subject of the film with some soldiers. The result of his hummus passion is a multi-award winning film loved by critics and audiences alike, even screened to a sold-out audience at Berlinale.
Since the making of the film, Lebanon has proved its hummus superiority in at least one department – quantity. In 2010, 300 cooks made 10450 kg of hummus, taking out the Guinness World Record for largest dish of hummus. Israel attempted to take the record in 2015, but their attempt was cancelled due to security concerns.
So tonight, sit down with “Make Hummus Not War”, a fascinating and humourous mix of politics and good food. As its Director told The Film Reporter: “It’s a tasty subject.”