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Many words on hummus: Part 1

I wanted to subtitle this post “Philosophy” but I already used a colon in the post title and I’m not sure whether I like multiple subtitles. So: PHILOSOPHY.

I made hummus today. (Oh, really, bethini, do go on!) (Thank you, I shall.) I love this stuff. I have a clear memory of tasting it as a kid and deciding it tasted like dirt — and I don’t mean that in a euphemism for shit, I mean I thought it had a wholesome, soil-ish taste. Not necessarily awful, but not to my liking, you know. So I ignored it for many years. Come adulthood, come conversion, come happiness. I love it so much: on raw veggies, on crackers, on toast, in wraps, in sandwiches. M had the mighty brainwave of using it as a pizza topping one tomato-lacking evening, and it was spectacularly good.

Spices of choice, spices of reflection.

Hummus embodies the best, awesomest things about cooking. Allow me to elaborate. It is easy, simple, nourishing, tasty and you can use it just about on/in/at anything.

  • Easy: you just sling it all into your mixer and puree it.
  • Simple in the sense that the list of ingredients is short and not particularly exotic: chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon. (Spices optional.)
  • Nourishing because chickpeas are loaded with protein, fibre and (to a lesser extent) zinc, calcium and iron. Olive oil is, of course, totally awesome for your heart (note: I lack formal nutritionist qualifications).
  • Tasty because it just is.
  • You can have it with/on/under anything, as listed in the preceding paragraph.

Cooking is that process of taking the time to produce something awesome. It reminds me (or you, if you’re paying attention) that I’m (or you’re) (or we’re) worth nourishing. To me, home-made hummus is a kick-arse answer to “why wouldn’t you just buy it?”, a question a lot of people still feel compelled to ask. It’s as easy as sneezing, completely delicious, and you can tailor it to suit your tastes (if you’re me, that means shitloads of lemon, cumin and chilli). You can start with canned chickpeas, bottled tahini, garlic from a jar and bottled lemon juice, and you’ll still come up with something pretty spesh, but if you’re really committed, you start from scratch (though I personally draw the line at planting and harvesting fresh chickpeas/lemons/garlic, etc.). Fresh tahini is ridiculously delicious, and brings a freshly-roasted-still-warm-nuttiness to the party that rocks one’s socks. Since you’ve got the oven going anyway, you might as well throw in some garlic and roast that too: roast garlic is the bomb.

Thick, juicy philosophy.

The Internet doesn’t need another hummus recipe. I don’t think it needed the first one, since the recipe is: purée. Google is your friend here. (You could argue that the Internet doesn’t need more philosophy either, but my counter-argument is that the Internet needs more GOOD philosophy, and luckily, I’ve got that in buckets.)

Hummus embodies the best things about cooking. I can buy some pretty damn awesome, locally-produced hummus around here from the local Turkish takeaways, but then I’d have to go outside. And I wouldn’t get the chance to waffle lyrically about the magic of cooking for oneself, would I?

Up close. Philosophically close.

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