Food, it turns out, is a serious business. And, as the Israel Story team recently came to appreciate, it can lead folks to embark on all kinds of unlikely crusades. In today’s episode we will hear two stories, from almost diametrically opposed perspectives, about the ways in which recognition and pride matter, especially when it comes to what we eat and drink. The first, about a Jerusalemite’s quirky liquid obsession, couldn’t be more local, whereas the second is an outsider’s take—the impressions of a visiting radio icon—on her first trip to the region.
In the prologue, “Chocolate Covered Raisins,” host Mishy Harman goes back to his rowdy 10th grade English class, where he learned more about shelling, blasting, and precision artillery than grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
Act 1: “The Pitcher.” Some kids dream about going to the moon. Others want to become millionaires. But growing up, Ariel Harpaz had a seemingly more attainable goal in mind: to get his picture up on the wall of Pinati, a popular hummus joint in downtown Jerusalem. Many years later, he enlisted his friends Mishy Harman and Shai Satran to help him guarantee that what he calls the “most important achievement” of his life—introducing the concept of a pitcher of Kool-Aid to Pinati—isn’t forgotten.
Act 2: “Operation Hummus.” As part of Israel Story’s first collaboration with the Peabody Award-winning podcast The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson came to the region to discover its “hidden kitchens.” What began as a straightforward reporting assignment about the Israeli-Lebanese “hummus wars” quickly turned into a beautiful meditation on food, culture, war, and peace. For a longer version of the piece, click here.
The original music in “The Pitcher” was composed and performed by Ari Wenig. The final song, “Hummus Metamtem” (or “Hummus Makes You Stupid”), is by Yehoshua Sofer. The episode also features music by Yochai Maital, Kevin MacLeod, Bachar Mar-Khalife, Ibrahim Maalouf, Arthur Oskan, and Hadag Nahash. It was mixed by Sela Waisblum.