Get Your Peanuts Out of My Chickpeas!

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I love it when hummus is in the news. Partially this is because I love hummus. I had hummus for breakfast this morning (seriously). At any given time, there are 3-5 tubs if hummus in my refrigerator (number of people living in my apartment: 3).

Most of the time, when I buy hummus I go for something relatively simple. I love Sabra brand, and I tend to buy their lemon, garlic, or pine nut flavors, all of which are very true to my ideal hummus. Not fancy, but delicious. I do, sometimes, buy some of the other flavors offered by Sabra (roasted red pepper, jalapeno, carmelized onions) but I understand that the more stuff you add to hummus the less hummus-y it becomes. (Also, I think I should note that in Sabra brand usually just puts their flavor stuff on top of the hummus, not incorporated into the hummus, so it doesn’t usually make that much of a difference anyway.)

I bring this up because the New York Times has an article today about the blasphemy of flavored hummus:

“BACK home, they would shoot me in the head for doing this to hummus,” Majdi Wadi said as he waited to board a flight to Los Angeles, where he would meet with Costco executives to pitch his company’s roster of 14 flavored hummus varieties, including artichoke-garlic and spinach.

By “home,” Mr. Wadi meant Kuwait, where he was born, and Jordan, from which he immigrated in 1994, places where hummus is usually a purée of chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon, garlic and not much else.

And then it goes on to say that flavored hummus is all the rage in America because we’re cretins who, as soon as we find something we like, have to add our own disgusting twist to it, like sun-dried tomatoes, or guacamole.

Whatever. I think the whole ‘who owns hummus’ argument is tired and stupid. It’s a middle eastern food that has been adapted to Western palates. You know what else Americans eat that’s entirely inauthentic? Chinese food. Nobody cares.

BUT. This article contains one very disturbing paragraph:

In 2000, Holy Land introduced hummus flecked with jalapeño. More recently, the company, which makes about 100,000 plastic tubs of hummus each month for the Midwest market, rolled out guacamole-flavored hummus. By August, its blend of hummus and peanut butter will hit the shelves. “That one is for my daughter, Noor,” Mr. Wadi said. “She didn’t think she liked hummus. Then we stirred in peanut butter.”

Peanut butter and hummus??!! NOOOOOOOoooooooooo! We have been down this road before! It is not good. The texture is WRONG.

Listen, Mr. Wadi. Maybe your daughter doesn’t like hummus. THAT’S OKAY. I think you should love her exactly the way she is. I happen to agree with you that it’s hard to imagine how someone could not like hummus, but that’s no reason to throw peanut butter in the mix. What if she doesn’t like her math class? Are you going to spread her arithmetic with a thin layer of peanut butter?

I know there’s oil rushing into the gulf, and wars raging, and a heat wave, and a million other problems, so can’t we just all agree to keep our hummus safe?

Posted on June 17, 2010

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