While the exact origins of falafel are unknown, there are many popular theories. Most of these theories agree that falafel was developed in Egypt. However, the subject of when and by whom is rather contested.
Some contest that it dates back about 1,000 years to the Egyptian Copts, who brought it with them from the Middle East. The the Copts invented the food as a meat-free option to enjoy over Lent during the time of the pharaohs, but there is little evidence to back up this claim.
‘Falafel’ is not a Coptic word, and it more likely came from Alexandria. The port city saw sailors bringing fava bean (original recipe) patties home, subsequently increasing their popularity throughout the Mediterranean.
It is contested that falafel first emerged in Alexandria, the principal port of Egypt and the city with the largest concentration of European troops.
Others say that falafel got routed from India in the 6th century. Falafel references began cropping up in Egyptian literature following the British occupation of the country.
British officers had enjoyed fried vegetable croquettes during their time in India and made their Egyptian cooks to prepare the dish upon returning home.
Some Jews point out that no single group can own a method for frying a mush of legumes; they say that falafel is generically Middle Eastern, having originated in Egypt and found its way as far as Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
However, Israel is perhaps the most steadfast in its claim over falafel, even advertising it as one of their national dishes and putting it into songs.
But many Palestinians believe that Israelis have stolen falafel, a traditional Arab food, and passed it off as what postcards at tourist kiosks all over Israel call ”Israel’s National Snack.”
This contest will have no ownership resolve, just as even now the Turks and Greeks have feud over coffee.
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