A treat I’ve recently uncovered at the corner store (Nadi’s, who, IIRC, hails from Lebanon) are maamoul, little cakes filled with dates. The store has stocked different brands, all from Saudi Arabia, with the latest definitely being the best: it has a surprisingly fresh pastry (especially if one acknowledges that it’s shipped from Jeddah). Unlike the related, also excellent treats I get at Nabu (a great lebanese hole-in-the-wall downtown), the store variety are individually packaged in air-tight bags, so it’s reasonable to buy the the box of a dozen and slowly eat them over weeks.
The kids are at this moment arguing whether they prefer those or nutella+banana sandwiches, which are themselves a creation of a globalized economy (hazelnuts and bananas don’t usually colocate). As much as one can and should criticize globalization’s impact on local cultures, I’m very grateful that we can have tastier snacks than what any local ecosystem could otherwise provide. Salmon jerky is ok, but it would get boring after a while.
Wouldn’t it’d be nice if global snack sharing could build cultural bridges? Unfortunately, while I get the impression that my fondness for exotic sweets helped convince Nadi to smile at me, Google suggests that at least a half-dozen middle-eastern cultures probably bicker over who “owns” maamoul, and I wouldn’t be surprised if numerous fistfights have erupted over arguments on whether a particular brew was greek or turkish coffee.