By Onnik Krikorian for Global Voices Online
As Armenia and Turkey come to blows over a UNESCO decision to enter a meal eaten in both countries into its list of Intangible Heritage, the dispute over food now appears to have spread to once again include Azerbaijan.
Locked into a bitter stalemate over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, around 25,000 died in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and a million forced to flee their homes. A lasting peace remains elusive.
No use for “common ground”
As a result, Armenians and Azerbaijanis naturally prefer to overlook the many similarities they share, but inter-ethnic rivalry over culture and tradition is perhaps most fierce over food. Kebabistan sets the scene.
Feeling burned by UNESCO’s decision, another group of Armenians is now taking steps to safeguard what they believe to be the Armenian lineage of tolma, stuffed grape leaves or other vegetables, which are frequently also served in Turkey, where they are known as dolma. . .
The Azeris, meanwhile, appear even more focused on protecting their cuisine from what they believe are Armenian efforts to encroach on their culinary territory. Azerbaijan has its own culinary watchdog, an organization called the National Cuisine Center, whose director, Tahir Amiraslanov, appears to spend most of his time on an effort to teach the world that Armenian cuisine is actually Azeri cuisine. . .
Stay tuned. In this food fight, there is clearly more to come…
Featured photo from flickr, Page 2 photo by Liana Aghajanian
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