Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lablabi Is Very Tunisian

I'd been meaning to post a follow-up entry on lablabi for a couple of weeks now. Turns out my original post ran roughshod over the dish, by attributing it to Algeria rather than Tunisia. The friend who introduced me to lablabi pointed my gaffe out this morning, and observed that a Tunisian friend of his wanted this corrected ASAP - by the Eid certainly, or a fatwa would be forthcoming. Edits made, I'll include this handy map:

I also considered a Jam Phat style chart or graph on where they make lablabi and where they wouldn't dare. I'll go with one of the classics instead:

Here's the thing I wanted to say about lablabi - if you make mediterranean food a couple of times a month you almost certainly have what it takes to whip up a bowl of it lying around your kitchen. And yet it will taste new. This overlap was the point, really, of Mario Batali's ill-fated cooking show Mediterranean Mario.

Or to put it another way, some of you know that I toiled briefly as an independent video game developer. I play video games rarely these days but I do still follow them, and I do still read Penny Arcade - a webcomic and blog that focuses on video games. In one of their blog entries, they discuss open source digital video recorders and offer up that most people reading could probably make one out of stuff they have in their closet. This is how I feel about my readers and lablabi.

Editor's note: At the risk of starting another international incident, I can't let mention of a fatwa pass without sending you here.


Sara said...

Hello there,
I may or may not be the troublemaking Tunisian friend of Rob's who threatened a fatwa, but I do appreciate the correction. Gorgeous photo of the food - I enjoyed reading both posts very much :)

happy consumptive said...

Ah, if only I'd made it over to Rob's for muscat and white bean soup then we could have had this exchange in person! Thanks for stopping by Sara.