From Anis Bedda…
I will write about an experience I had when I was working in Toronto, Canada. I used to rent the basement of a colleague of mine, John who has Greek origins and we used to carpool with another colleague, Lina who has Palestinian origins.  So the story starts like a joke does: A Palestinian, a Greek and a Tunisian in a car going to work….
Lina, driven by her mother instincts was always kindly paying attention to me for being far from home and family. She just came back from Jordan where part of her family still lives, that day she brought me some Baklava and a couple of other things to eat. The following discussion took place:
Me: “oh that’s great, I am curious to see how they do Baklava in Jordan and Palestine, I wonder how different it is from the one we have back home.
Lina: There is one and only baklava and it’s the one you’re holding in your hands.
John: (with a little smirk) yeah right !
And here you go, a discussion started about the origins of Baklava and which one is the best. That inspired me to write an entry in my blog that I called “peace and food”, here is an excerpt :

“Have you ever wondered where Baklava comes from!? If you want to know, try to throw your question during a dinner bringing together a Tunisian, a Middle Eastern, a Turkish, a Greek and an Armenian…Each of them will keep on going on the origins of baklava and how the best baklava undeniably comes from his/her mother land. Needless to say that any other baklava you may try is just a mere replica… The same goes with Chawarma, aka Gyros aka Doner kebab… different names for the same yummy greasy meat sandwich… funny!!!!!It is wonderful how the food we eat everyday carries so much history. If Baklava is so spread around the Mediterranean it is because of the Ottoman Empire that ruled the region for centuries. The cultures within the empire got mixed and go look now for the origins of Baklava, good luck.

We are not that different after all and our food is here to confirm it, actually it proves that we are very similar and have so much to share… and as my friend John would say: “Even though many countries make their own baklava, they are practically all the same – just like human beings. No matter where we are from – we have mostly the same basic needs/desires. WE ARE ALL ONE BAKLAVA”

That reminds me of when I went to Turkey and figured out that the words I was used to hear in the Egyptian movies were actually Turkish, words like Gazma, chanta, abla, abi… the Egyptian language and pronunciation completely changed after the 5 centuries ruling of The Mamalik. And on the other hand the Turkish language carries lots of Arabic words as well as Hungarian influences, eastern Europeans, Balkans…”

The comments on the blog post were interesting and funny, friends from Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey wrote to claim Baklava was theirs. Some time later, a friend of mine posted a link to a Turkish newspaper talking about demonstrations in Turkey to protest a Greek Cypriot claim that Baklava is their national creation, here is the link:
Not that funny anymore…
Anis Bedda

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 1:27 pm and is filed under General, other interesting stuff, social practices, The Middle East/Arab World . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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