Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vegetarian food...good?

With Lent winding down, I thought it would be interesting to do a post on the history of Falafel.

In case you didn't know, Falafel is mixture of chickpeas and/or fava beans. This mixture is ground up, mixed with spices, lumped into balls, and (as Moe Szyslak would say) "Deep fried to perfection." A relatively light snack, a typical pita sandwich weighs in at about 400 calories. It's also mostly protein and carbs, surprisingly enough.

I used to look down on falafel, but after trying the world famous Mamoun's (original location on MacDougal street) I haven't had enough of it.

Multiple stories circulate about the origins of falafel as a food. Some speculate it was introduced by Coptic Christians during their fast days, which would mean they ate it quite a bit. That's because more than half of the Coptic Calendar is devoted to fast days!

Others argue it originated in India, while still others contend that it was a dish that dates back to the Pharaohs.

Regardless, it's really good and certainly a cheap meal. In case you don't know, a cheap falafel dish ranges from $2.50 to $5, and it just got a bit cheaper. On St. Mark's, a new $2 joint opened up. It's not as good as Mamoun's, but it holds its own. With the right spin, it could be the Middle East's answer to Two Brothers!

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