Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


She Who Must Be Obeyed claims that beets taste like dirt, which is why she won’t eat ’em.

Hummus, on the other hand, sounds like dirt.  Hummus, humus, what’s the difference?

Last night, SWMBO was entertaining several Friends of Long Standing - the girls from the Old ’Hood.  On the menu were burgers - both salmon and beef - along with roasted sweet potato sticks, peppers, and a fine romaine salad.  We needed an appetizer, though.  What to serve?

Ah! we both thought simultaneously.  Hummus!  We always keep a supply on hand for just such situations.

A bowl of hummus, decorated with a sprinkling of roasted pine nuts and za’atar.

Hummus is the quintessential Middle Eastern dip, consisting of mashed chickpeas with sesame, lemon, and garlic.  There are alternative versions - a particularly popular one is hummus foul, made with fava beans - spelled variously as foul or ful.  (It’s pronounced “fool,” in case you were curious.)  But most of the hummus we see here is the good old chickpea version.

Hummus, a traditional Arab dish, is popular in Israel as well - hardly a surprise, since Mediterranean food traditions tend to cross cultural lines.  Since it may be eaten either with meat or dairy meals, it is popular among observant Jews who follow the traditional dietary laws.  Not only that, it’s nutritious - plenty of vitamins, plus a good balance of protein to carbohydrates - and it tastes good.  What’s not to like?

I doctored our hummus up with a squirt of olive oil, a handful of toasted pine nuts, and a generous sprinkling of za’atar (a Middle Eastern herb blend containing varying proportions of hyssop, sesame seeds, and sumac).  It tasted great - not like dirt at all.

Unlike beets.


BobG said...

I like hummus with a bit of chile in it, myself. A touch of chipotle or jalapeño makes it interesting.

Rahel Jaskow said...

Hmmm. I think it's time to introduce you to a local comedian whose love for hummus is legendary. Unless you've already run across his work. Just thinkin' that you'd enjoy it.

Elisson said...

@BobG - I love to spice up my hummus with a side order of s'chug, a fiery jalapeño-based condiment that comes from the Yemenite Jewish community. I've had both red and green versions - either one is capable of making hummus very interesting.