I don’t think I ate my first falafel until I was in my forties….late thirties at the earliest, and after hearing a great deal of hoo-ha over the years as to the joys of falafel, I must admit that my first experience left me flat. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what got people so excited about the little things, as mine were dry and as bland as sawdust on the inside, slick and oily on their surface, and presented with day-old chopped veggies and a REALLY bitter tahini sauce….ugh.
Growing up in Vermont as a kid, I never even heard the word falafel, let alone have any knowledge of what they were. I was probably in college when I saw my first one, and I remember thinking that it was some sort of meatball when I first laid eyes on it. Imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when I finally learned that it was basically just a little veggie patty. Remember, I’m of Italian descent, meatballs make so much more sense to me. To my way of thinking, falafel was to a meatball, what a veggie burger was to a juicy, 80% lean ground sirloin grilled hunk of deliciousness….you can keep the former, I’ll take the latter thank you very much.