I must confess to a (possibly unhealthy) fascination for the topic of food poisoning. You know the kind. First you’re afraid you’re going to die. Then you’re afraid you’re not going to die. When I taught the food sanitation course I loved showing 1960s US Army “barf films” meant to train food handlers. I could never figure out if it was real vomit coming out of the mouths of the recruits hanging over the sides of their barracks cots or staged. I still don’t know.
Anyway, with such obsessions you can understand why my attention was drawn to the story of salmonella poisoning that occurred last week among people eating Hoomus Shirazi at the Pars Cove Persion Cuisine booth at the Taste of Chicago outdoor fair (stay with this one; it’s got a bizarre and creepy twist):
As of noon Friday, 378 people had called claiming symptoms of salmonella poisoning, up from 126 Thursday, officials said. Thirty-two cases have been confirmed through laboratory analysis as salmonellosis, with more tests pending.
About a dozen have been hospitalized for dehydration, diarrhea or fever.
Officials determined at least one “and perhaps the only” source of the bacterial poisoning was a dish of herbs, tomato and cucumber known as hummus shirazi, and ordered Pars Cove to stop serving hummus while a full-scale investigation proceeds. (Chicago Tribune)
The dish, as described, didn’t sound like hummus (a dish of mashed chickpeas and sesame oil). It sounded more like tabouleh, at least to my non-Middle Eastern experience. So I googled Hummus Shirazi and what came up was a report of the same Taste of Chicago event on a site called Vegan Diva:
We took a Metra train into the city and hopped on a free trolley to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago today. It was fun and I will definitely go back next year. Vegan options weren’t plentiful but we enjoyed most of the ones that were available.
I plotted out our route ahead of time so I knew the locations of the booths we wanted to visit. We started off at Pars Cove Persian Cuisine’s booth for a taste portion of their Hummus Shirazi. It is “fresh herb-tomato-cucumber salad over a bed of hummus”. It was served with a tiny pita wedge and cost 3 tickets. It was yummy! (Vegan Diva)
And what do you know! Pictures of the booth and the Hummus Shirazi. Yummy:
Pictures removed: Alas, the Vegan Diva has demanded that “the stolen pictures” be removed. My view was that taking a few pics from a much longer post with many more pics was “fair use” but I don’t want to start a fight with another blogger. If this were a big publisher I’d dig in my heels but she apparently took offense (I’m not sure why). If you want to see the pics you can just go to her post here.