A Brief History of Falafel

I had me some more of Cap’n Dyke’s beet salad tonight, which means I’ll be peeing a fine Robert Mondavi Rosé for the next two or three days. And in honor of that observation, I changed the blog’s subtitle. See above.

A combination of tonight’s dinner and an otherwise blank slate from the blog muse led to tonight’s topic. Drumroll, please, for a brief history of falafel . . .

Falafel feels like comfort food to me, yet I think I had my first falafel sandwich during med school — across the street from San Jose’s Century Theater complex, at an international food court which no longer exists. Yes, I got through four years of Berkeley and ate nary a falafel. Amazing.

Here’s the history.

5400 BCE: Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) first cultivated. Confirmatory second source: “The earliest chickpeas found on the Hacilar site near Burdur in Turkey, have been estimated to be 7500 years old.”

1000 BCE: Earliest literary reference to chickpeas.

The Iliad by Homer (about 1000-800 B.C) provides the most ancient literary reference. The arrows of Helenus bouncing off the breastplate of Menelaos are compared with beans and chickpeas being thrown by the winnower.

October 13, 2004: Fox News Television Producer Andrea Mackris files suit against Bill O’Reilly, alleging, among other sordid things, that O’Reilly had repeatedly called her to suggest innovative sexual practices of which they might partake, including a nice shower scrub-down with a loofah, or as O’Reilly liked to call it, “the falafel thing.”

November, 2004: Falafel Sex puts up its inaugural post.

January, 2005: Bill O’Reilly publishes his manifesto:

(Pinched from this place.)

Well, I told you it would be a brief history.

Heartwarming falafel moments, anyone? Ever been rubbed down with one? I prefer a bit of tahini sauce with my falafel massage, thank you very much.



  1. Dean says:

    I have nothing against falafel, quite enjoy it in fact, but it is made from legumes, and me and legumes don’t mix*. In the case of falafel, the results are positively nuclear**.

    So I will enjoy the falafel from a distance, and hope that, one day, it will bring about Bill O’Reilly’s downfall. Because that would be cool.

    * although peanuts are ok. Aren’t they a legume? Or are they semi-psuedo false legumes? Or are they only related to legumes?

    ** Nuke-you-lar, as the POTUS is want to pronounce it.

  2. Dean says:

    Oh, and that photo reminds me of O’Brien’s latest post, which isn’t a good thing.

  3. Lyvvie says:

    I do have a falafel moment! While a student I took on a tutoring role and one of the students was a thirty something man from Egypt. He was very nice and kept telling me I needed feeding so he’d bring fat oranges, dates and homemade falafel for me to eat. He was the best English language student I ever had.

  4. Walnut says:

    So Dean, was it the falafels or the tahini sauce that jarred your memory?

    As for the colonic effects, I know what you mean. But it’s worth it. And, yes, I do believe peanuts are legumes.

    Lyvvie: yup, one of these days I need to try making these from scratch. But the mixes are sooo good!

  5. sxKitten says:

    It might be worth it for Dean, but it’s hard on the pets. You try explaining to tearful children why Fluffy asphyxiated because Daddy went on a falafel binge.

    I, myself, have never tried falafel. I probably should.