The formerly lowly garbanzo bean is surfing a vegetarianism-fueled wave of popularity in my house. Tonight they found what may be their highest calling: hummus!
Have you had it before? That winsome, garlicky combo of chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. Smooth, savory, creamy and filling. There’s nothing that more fittingly adorns a little triangle of fresh warm pita. (Providing there’s no Nutella on hand!)
I love hummus for a number of reasons: Eating it has never knowingly made me sick in a foreign land. It plates far more attractively than the whole sheep brain appetizer* delivered to our table one time in Damascus! It’s filling, but with a slight aura of healthiness about it. And, finally, it’s preparation has a wide margin of error and a high likelihood of tasty success.
With origins in the ancient Middle East, Wikipedia confesses, “evidence is insufficient to determine the precise location or time of the invention of hummus,” but something like it began to show up in Cairo cookbooks in the 13th century!
Lately, hummus consumption is exploding in the US! In an effort to keep up, American farmers have quadrupled their chickpea output since 2009!
These days you can buy sixteen different kinds of Sabra Hummus, and a “hummus” search on amazon.com yields seven pages of products! Lots of choices, but it’s actually pretty easy to make your own. Simple, classic, delicious.
Here’s an even better reason to make your own: It offers a solid reason to visit a Middle Eastern grocery and a dead-simple and sensible excuse to engage the kindly, old proprietor (or otherwise) in conversation. “What kind of chickpeas do I start with?” “Which of these tahini’s is best?” And the best one, “When I make this hummus, will you taste if for me and tell me your honest opinion?”
Send me a photo of your next hummus effort and I'll celebrate with you! Bonus points if you're eating it with a kindly grocer!
*Yes, those are actually Rice Krispy brains. I couldn't bear to show you the real thing. Google it for yourself!