“The best thing that ever happened to chickpeas” according to Google, was featured on Tuesday on the search engine’s interactive logo on their homepage. Three falafel balls jumping into an open pita filled with hummus, tomato, and cucumber was Google’s way of celebrating the favorite dish and get into some food culture.
Falafel is a deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough.
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish that first appeared in Egypt about 1000 years ago, under the name “ta’amiya” made with fava beans. Although the exact origin is unknown, some say it was invented by the Turks or Arabs. As the dish spread throughout the Middle East the fava bean was replaced with chickpeas as the main ingredient and it acquired the Levantine Arabic name falafel.
Chickpea-based falafel can be prepared in many ways and is one of the favorite dishes for vegetarians and vegans as it’s high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber, low in fat and contain no cholesterol.
Whoever invented it, it has been spreading all over the world ever since.
In the 1970’s it appeared in the Arabic, Coptic and Jewish communities in North America and has since become a popular street food. Different cultures also use a variety of toppings to put their own spin on their falafel sandwiches.
Google notes that fried eggplant is popular in Iraq, in Germany, and has been adopted by the Arab subculture to include pickles, vegetables, and sweet mango sauce while the hot sauce still popular in Yemen.
Google Doodle loves celebrating food, in 2017 it honored rice noodles and last year on the 4th of July it showed an interactive map highlighting food from across the country.