"Greetings fair town of Boise! The Bureau of Middle Eastern Food Control is here at the behest of His Magnificent Tastefulness, King Waj the First (cheers, clapping, etc.). Your King decreed six months ago that we should embark on a crusade to rid your town of all Middle Eastern food that does not meet His magnificent standards. We have utilized the local authorities to find out where Middle Eastern food is being served. For the sake of protecting the King's loyal subjects, we are authorized to shut down any establishment we deem in contempt of His royal fiat. We shall hold court upon His Tastefulness' arrival, beginning on the morrow ..."

"Lieutenant, speak!" (It's the morrow.)

"Sire, we have before us the owner of a popular local tavern. The authorities informed us that they were selling hummus."

"Bring the hummus to me!" (The King need only glance at the offending dish.) There is not enough tahini or olive oil! And I detect no lemon juice or even garlic! Tavern owner, do you peel the husks of the chickpeas prior to making what you call hummus?"

"Your Magnificence, I didn't know chickpeas even had a husk."

"Blasphemy! You are guilty of exposing my subjects to simulated hummus! Lieutenant, you will revoke the tavern's liquor license, and lock this man in the dungeon! Next!"

"Sire, we have before us the owner of a delightful and quaint lunch spot that sells tabouli salad."

"Bring me the tabouli! (Yet again, the King need only glance at the offending dish.) Too much bulgur wheat, and not enough parsley! Quaint lunch spot owner, why don't you use more parsley?"

"Your Tastefulness, too much parsley makes the salad gritty, and parsley just doesn't taste very good."

"Silence! Parsley is the foundation of tabouli! Lieutenant, revoke their liquor license and lock her in the dungeon!"

"Uh, Sire, they don't serve alcohol."

"Oh. Well, um ... burn down the restaurant! Next!"

"Sire, the authorities discovered a Mediterranean restaurant named Mazzah. They dare to serve not only tabouli and hummus, but also such dishes as falafel, shish kabob, shawarmas and even za'atr."

"Za'atr? (A hush falls over the court.) Bring me the za'atr. (The King gazes at the spice-laden bread, and for the first time that day, a hint of contentment is seen upon His face.) I have never seen this delicacy served outside of the Queen Mum's castle (tears). Bring me more of their food! (The King consumes prodigious amounts of tabouli, falafel and skewers of beef, chicken and lamb.) I am enormously satisfied! Why, they even serve mujaddara (rice and lentils) and grape leaves! True Mediterranean food! 'Tis good for my heart. Knighthood is in order for the owners of Mazzah!"

"But Sire, the masses may see your kindness as a sign of weakness ..."

"Hmmm, good point. Mazzah owner, are you in possession of a naked body under your clothes?"

"Just my own, your Magnificence."

"Have you ever witnessed any part of it?"

"Once, Sire, about eight years ago. Had a sneezing fit while bathing. Saw my belly button by accident."

"'Tis a sin all the same. Normally I would have you arrested, and your restaurant shut down, but your food is fit for a, well, me. The authorities tell me that the line at lunchtime is long because your popular kabobs are grilled to order. So, I proclaim that upon my weekly visits, I be allowed to skip to the front of the line. What say thee?"

"It shall be done my King!"

—Waj Nasser loves Mazzah almost as much as Himself.

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