Happy Weekend: Israeli Hummus, Sudanese Tamiya, and Barack Obama?

Ze’ev Avrahami of Sababa – Mama’s Kitchen in Mitte. Image by Lara Merrington. Credit Slow Travel Berlin.

Ze’ev Avrahami of Sababa – Mama’s Kitchen in Mitte. Image by Lara Merrington. Credit Slow Travel Berlin.

Happy weekend, folks and happy art-watching, art-critiquing, art-consuming, if you find yourself in Berlin among the packed galleries from Neukölln to Friedenau (that’s right, there is art to be found in the Berlin answer to the suburb, as well). For the rest of us, avoiding crowds and awkward glances from gallerists who accuse us with their eyes of only coming for the champagne, here are a few things that made me giggle or my stomach grumble. They are also things that don’t necessarily have ANYTHING to do with trend or art.

Berlin has seen a wave of young Israelis coming to study, to work, and to critique this city’s claim to hummus. The folks at Slow Travel Berlin have put together a little piece on this culinary glorification of the chickpea, mapping its way through the different ethnic, religious, or just plain old neighborhood configurations that bring it to the table, particularly focusing on the Israeli-connection. An excerpt: “For Ze’ev Avrahami, the owner of Sababa – Mama’s Kitchen in Mitte, there was no place in Berlin that corresponded to his idea of hummus and he felt compelled to open his own shop. ‘Hummus is not food,’ this burly man with his permanent five o’clock shadow tells me. ‘It’s a way of life. It’s addictive – it’s a drug. I eat hummus every day.’ He too, has a mission: Apart from hummus with various toppings, Sababa’s also serves a ‘peace salad’ made half of tomatoes, half of cucumbers and mint. ‘Some say it’s Arab, others say it’s Israeli, half and half, green and red.’” Click here to read more from Anne Thomas’s greatttt article about the activist side of Middle-Eastern flavors in Berlin…

On the thread of food, there is a delicious Sudanese Café in three of Berlin’s districts called Nil, which serves up street-food style plates of fava-bean falafel (Tamiya), fried bananas with peanut sauce, and delectable nutty soups with heaps of spice. If you stop by, be sure to chat a bit with those working, who seem to enjoy recommending toppings or even rolling their eyes at the first request for scharf (spicy). Second time for the spice request is the charm, however, and they will be sure to make your pita sandwich a memorable one!  Until you get a chance to visit in person or in spirit – depending on your location in the world – let this image of US President Barack Obama and Nil united make you giggle just a little: When You Live in Berlin.

-By Kelly Miller

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