Food Fights in the Caucasus Mountains

Photo: Nazik Armenakyan/ArmeniaNow

Photo: Nazik Armenakyan/ArmeniaNow

As we’ve seen before, food means a lot more to people than simply what’s on the plate, especially when it comes to cultural ownership of certain dishes and the preservation of culinary traditions. The latest region to see a clash over food history is the Caucasus region that makes up the border between Europe and Asia.

Many Armenians are upset about UNESCO’s choice to attribute a stew known as Keshkek to Turkey on the “Intangible Cultural Heritage List.” According to them, the hearty stew is called Harissa; the organization Development and Preservation of Armenian Culinary Traditions will be building a case for appeal. Georgians have also drawn the organization’s ire for claiming a beef soup called Khash.

It turns out that accusations of food theft aren’t a one-way street. Azerbaijian says Armenia copied Tolma (meatballs wrapped in grape leaves), which is not to be confused with dolma. The latter means means ‘stuffed’, while tolma means wrapped. 

[via The Atlantic]

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