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**Baba Ghannoush Plate – The Levantine Legacy**

**Origin & History:**

Baba Ghannoush traces its roots to the Levant, a region that spans modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. This dish has ancient origins and is deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of these lands.

The name “Baba Ghannoush” can be broken down to “Baba,” which means “father” in Arabic, and “Ghannoush” which is somewhat playful, implying something like “pampered” or “coquettish.” There are folk tales suggesting that perhaps the dish was named after a particularly doting father or perhaps a beloved elder who was particularly fond of this dish, but the exact origins of the name remain shrouded in mystery.

 

The primary ingredient, eggplant (or aubergine), has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory. The vegetable eventually made its way to the Levant, where it became a staple. Combining roasted eggplant with tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds) was a natural progression, given the region’s abundant sesame crops and the popularity of tahini-based dishes.

Garlic and lemon, also essential components of the dish, have been culinary staples in the Middle East for millennia. The addition of these ingredients to the dish added depth and zest, respectively.

The serving of the dish with olive oil is a nod to the ancient olive groves that have been a hallmark of the Levantine landscape for thousands of years. The aromatic mint leaves not only add a burst of freshness but also have historical significance in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Over time, as trade routes expanded and cultures intermingled, Baba Ghannoush found its way to various parts of the Middle East and North Africa, with each region adding its own unique twist to the classic.

At “Deli O’Clock,” we celebrate this rich history by offering the Baba Ghannoush Plate, a testament to the timeless culinary traditions of the Levant and the shared history of its people.

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