How has the Arab dish of hummus become a (Jewish) Israeli passion? And how should we think of the relationship between the field of politics and practices of food consumption? While the Israeli appropriation of hummus, and other Arab dishes, appears like a clear case of "culinary colonialism," I argue that although the culinary field is not detached from politics, consumption and signification patterns do not simply reflect political relations. Rather, they are shaped by the articulation of several power structures, the relationship between Jews and Arabs being only one of them. Focusing on the case study of hummus, this lecture will emphasize the role of various agents and cultural intermediaries in promoting both consumption and signification patterns of the dish, one of the most important among them being the food industry.
Dafna Hirsch, Open University of Israel