Talk:Levantine cuisine

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What I really want is a map of the Levant area, but pictures of respresentative cuisine would be nice too. RJFJR 14:37, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Duly stolen from Levant. Pictures of the cuisine can be taken from the respective pages, but particularly appropriate here would be a spread of the appropriate salads and dishes: pita, hummus, tahini, baba ganouj, tabouleh, and so forth. --Mgreenbe 23:37, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Levantine cuisine as a unit[edit]

From Talk:Baklava:

...while Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian cuisine bear enough similarities to be grouped together as Levantine cuisine, is this really the case of Israeli cuisine? I'm asking because I don't know at all, but I would have imagined a considerable European influence as well as Levantine elements. Palmiro | Talk 13:31, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

A good question. While we would be hard pressed to find a dish available in Lebanon that's not available in Israel, that's an awfully weak criterion; if we stretch it to commonly available, then it still holds, but the inverse does not — schnitzel and matzo balls are not particularly common in Israel's neighbors. So: I'm wishy-washy, the issue goes both ways, multi-cultural this, immigrant culture that, "melting pot", and so forth.

That said: should references to all five of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Turkish, and Israeli cuisine together be condensed? Four out of five? Three out of five? The individual categories would naturally be untouched. Baklava is an example of the (delicious) problem: it lists its name in the language of its various cuisines. What to do? --Mgreenbe 00:24, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I think on the basis of what you say there, Levantine cuisine should probably primarily deal with Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian cuisine (I'm not sure how Jordan fits in, having to some extent absorbed the local prejudice that it isn't a "real" country), while pointing out the points of commonality and divergence with other cuisines. I would say that we should have a separate article on Israeli cuisine. In fact, drawing up such an article might be a useful first step to point us in the right direction for organisation of the field as a whole. Turkish cuisine, I think, while having many points in common also has quite a few differences. And in any case I don't think Turkey counts as the Levant (not that that's the best basis for deciding how to deal with this, but it can be considered a supplementary argument). Palmiro | Talk 15:23, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
That seems reasonable. I only mentioned Turkish cuisine because it's mentioned in the article. I'll do Israeli cuisine when I get a chance. What do you think about dealing with references? Should we reference each individual country and Levantine cuisine, or compress it when applicable? It wouldn't be fair to compress some but not others, so it's probably best not to.
As for Jordan, I don't know what Jordanian cuisine is at all. I've only been there briefly (Petra) and it was nine years ago, so I don't much remember the food. I'll be going there sometime this month, anyway, and will report back. --Mgreenbe 16:05, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm just thinking back on my only visit to Jordan, and I had some delicious food the like of which I had never come across before, in a town in the north where we stayed one night. Meaty dishes with yoghurt and aubergine playing a large part. My impression on the whole is that it's similar to Syrian and Palestinian cuisine but with more of a bedouin influence, just as one might expect.
I think we should reference just Levantine cuisine for anything that's a common feature thereof; it's not much use to refer to Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian cuisine for ubiquitous dishes the likes of maqloubeh, babaghanoush, labneh or muhammara. Palmiro | Talk 16:18, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Maybe the aspect that the Levantine culinary tradition dates back at least to common basics of the Byzantine Empire should be worked out more. The Turkish (ie Ottoman) cuisine adopted many of these (amongst others). In Western Europa, because of a different culinary development in the later middle ages and modern times, we mostly look at it as if being a oriental cuisine, when in fact its just the ordinary cooking tradition from the Byzantine antiquity. Not to forget that the Levantine cuisine of today is also a product of the agrarian imports from the Americas via Western Europe (also many Lebanese fe have ties to Europe and the USA). And thats where the cuisine of Israel has its places - as beeing part of the more recent or modern Levantine cuisine (incorporating Western and Mizrahi-jewish ways of cooking).-- (talk) 16:16, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your contributions. I agree that modern Levantine cuisine owes a lot to the Columbian exchange (Fragner has a good discussion of this in A Taste of Thyme). There are certainly some dishes that can be traced to Byzantine and medieval Arab traditions, but as Fragner says about Ottoman cuisine:
It is a matter of mere speculation whether the origins of this imperial culinary legacy are to be traced back to Greek antiquity, the Byzantine heritage, or the ingenuity of the glorious Turkish and Arab nations, not forgetting Phoenician and Jewish traditions; nowadays you may find support for any of these claims in various countries in the Balkans and the Near East. (Fragner, p. 53)
Of course, if we can find solid, neutral reliable sources for the origins of Levantine (and Ottoman) cuisine, that would be great. --Macrakis (talk) 21:21, 3 January 2012 (UTC)