…and for once, it’s not something negative!
Minneapolis seems, at first glance, an odd beachhead for a Muslim-owned company selling foods inspired by the Middle East. But the cultures share certain affinities.
“Muslims care about manners and values,” Mr. Wadi said. “And we are devoted to family, too.” His mother stops in most days to ensure that the production manager, Samer Wadi, younger brother of Majdi, stays true to her family recipe, at least with Holy Land’s baseline hummus product.
Holy Land began as a small counter-service restaurant and grocery, but after numerous expansions it functions as a crossroad where Turks buy coffee laced with cardamom and Ethiopians in search of injera jostle Egyptians bound for the butcher window to pick up bundles of boneless camel meat.
Can’t say that I buy their hummus often. Delicious as it is, I can make a whole lot more for much cheaper (which is helpful when you eat hummus by the gallon).
On my usual HolyLand shopping list:
- their whole wheat pita bread, something my husband consumes in copious amounts. Sadly, I’ve yet to perfect pita making, so we’ll continue to buy it here until I do
- Egyptian cream cheese
- pitted kalamata olives
- canned ful, although I’m planning to make the switch this weekend to soaking and cooking fava beans myself. How hard can it be?
- Halal Pepperoni! It truly is a thing of beauty. Don’t get it more than a few times a year, but it’s good enough to eat straight up.
- Dates! inshaAllah going to get these next time around. It just isn’t Ramadan without majdool dates.
- Tahina. Necessary of aforementioned gallons of homemade hummus and AbuS’ cream cheese/tahina/tomato mixture.
- Our (read AbuS’) zabiha halal meat. They claim the animals are 100% vegetarian fed, and not pumped full of chemicals and hormones. Haven’t yet been able to verify how the animals are raised, but until we can afford grass fed organic zabiha meat, this is where I’ll get it. Their butchers are happy to grind up any whole chunk of meat I want (to avoid the nastiness that often finds it’s way into ground beef).
On a related note Holy Land is one of the founders (I believe) of the American Halal Association. I picked up their introductory magazine awhile back and was pleased to see several articles about ethical organic and sustainable meat (see pgs 9 and 28-30).