Around the World In Defense of Chickpeas!

Had a very interesting lunch today. Interesting thing was not the food at all. I ordered falafels  over a green salad with tahini dressing. Very simple, right? This is something I love eating when we are at a Middle Eastern restaurant. But where I had this lunch was a place famous with its burgers, Pinky in Charlotte area. Caught me off guard with their pretty good falafels!

What was more interesting actually was the reaction some of my coworkers showed. They could not identify the falafels (which is perfectly fine! not everyone has to be well-versed on chickpeas) but instead of asking in a normal, polite voice, they almost screamed “What is THAT??!! ” This was followed by “Why don’t you eat like us?” …and then “Why do you have to eat all this different stuff?” …then “When are you going to eat like a normal person?”

Well, I thought I was a normal person! But it seems like the chickpeas disqualified me from being one!

So throughout my lunch, I had to defend my lunch in between the bites. And I decided I will not do this again! Idon’t have to make my lunch choices “acceptable” to others. This is what I eat, and LOTS of people all around the world do not have burger, fries and hot dogs as their choice of food on the table!

Actually, after looking around the table, I had a funny observation: Nobody made any comment about the Taco salad somebody else ordered! In theory that is not supposed to be American, either. But somehow it is!

So, I wanted to go around the world and see what others are eating…you know, all  of you weird people with weird tastes… I need inspiration to shock my coworkers for the next lunch dates :) So I wanted to share some of my favorite abnormalities in the food world!

My first obsession in the States: Indian food! When I grow up, I wanna be able to cook Indian food and make naans like  my dear friend, Prerna, from Indian Simmer does! Have tried couple of her recipes and they were delicious. These naans are next on my list!

Who says Brits don’t have good food? I have been following All That I Am Eating for a while and I love what she is eating. I had no idea those little purple flowers were chive flowers!

I have to put another one like me here, a fellow Turkish food blogger Zerrin’s site Give Recipe! Not only she gives great recipes, she also fills her blog with so much useful information about the ingredients! This one is my latest favorite! Love red peppers!

My other obsession is sushi! But I would like to learn more about traditional Japanese dishes and I think Humble Bean will encourage me to do just that! I love and can eat loads of sushi at one sitting, but I would not mind trying some of the recipes here.

The last one but not the least! Imen’s blog, I Married An Irish Farmer. My new favorite. Beautiful pictures and recipes!  Are you thinking “Really, Irish food?” …Again who comes up with these prejudgements of “bad cuisines”… I was delighted to see the similar cheese to what I made last week. I am telling you, food is universal ! And there is no bad cuisine…there are only not-so-passionate-cooks!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and do some thinking for next week’s lunch orders!

Thanks for not being normal, friends!


  1. by Prerna@IndianSimmer
    9:44 pm
    Jul 20, 2011

    Haha, your post just cracked me up! I have a couple encounters like that with some “normal people” and I just pity them for knowing less :-) You just made me crave some falafals now. Did I tell that I also found a truck with the world’s best falafal? They were also on Food Network. Yes, I am in food truck heaven now and miss you every-time I go there :-)
    Thanks for the shoutout girlfriend!

  2. by Ilke
    9:52 pm
    Jul 20, 2011

    Food trucks in CLT seem to be on the BBQ menu, no falafals so far :( Enjoy your time with the food trucks! Maybe I will visit you sometime :) Miss you too!

  3. by Jennifer
    11:02 pm
    Jul 20, 2011

    Now I’m hungry!

  4. by locke
    3:26 am
    Jul 21, 2011

    Wow, your coworkers sound be bit rude, to be honest.. Why would you have to justify what you choose to eat?

  5. by Ilke
    6:54 pm
    Jul 21, 2011

    I guess they can be sometimes. I don’t think they mean it that way, or that is what I keep telling myself :)

  6. by Lucy
    10:55 am
    Jul 21, 2011

    Hey this post made me laugh – I’ve often had looks of shock from co-workers as I reheat a paneer curry, or eat falafel in our wrok kitchen. I’ve always been told it’s rude to pass comment on what someone else is eating – but when it happens 10 time in one day can be a bit grating!

  7. by Ilke
    6:55 pm
    Jul 21, 2011

    Hi Lucy, thankfully we just heat up and come to our desks to eat, so I don’t have anyone sneaking up on me over my shoulder and commenting on what I eat!

  8. by Melinda
    11:16 am
    Jul 22, 2011

    i LOVE chickpeas…hummus or anything greek in my opinion is delicious. next time you are up in greensboro for work, i am taking you to my favorite greek restaurant….mmmm so good!

  9. by All That I'm Eating
    11:07 am
    Jul 24, 2011

    Hang on…I recognise that picture! Thanks for mentioning me and this recipe looks fantastic. Guess where I’m going on holiday in a few weeks…Turkey! Just after I booked it I thought I know exactly who I’m going to tell!

  10. by Ilke
    5:04 pm
    Jul 24, 2011

    You lucky girl! I am jealous! Where in Turkey?

  11. by Jeanette
    1:56 pm
    Jul 25, 2011

    So funny – what others consider normal is not necessarily the tastiest or the healthiest! I just picked up some falafel for lunch today so I guess I’m not “normal” either. One day your co-workers will realize that you actually had a tastier lunch than they did!

  12. by Marly
    1:59 pm
    Jul 26, 2011

    Love this post! As a vegan, I get this all the time. I agree with you – why should I have to defend my food choices…especially when I’m choosing such healthy food! Poor chickpeas…they need our help!

  13. by via_ostiense
    11:54 pm
    Jul 27, 2011

    Those photos look delicious–thanks for the links to food blogs, I have to go explore them now :)

    Your coworkers’ behavior was quite rude; I hope they learn some manners before they dine out with anyone again!

  14. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    8:36 pm
    Jul 30, 2011

    Ilke, I would like to join you in defense of chickpeas! They are one of my main protein sources, so healthy and versatile. Plus they’re pretty darn delicious, especially when they’re fried into a piping hot falafel! Fight the good fight! ;)

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