I know! I never thought I’d want this either but there’s a story in the news that struck a deep chord with me. This is something I’ve been grousing about to anyone who would listen so I am glad to add my support for this:
Sabra Files FDA Petition to Establish Standard of Identity for Hummus “A food item that is not made of chickpeas… is not hummus.”
Sabra Dipping Company has filed a citizen’s petition with the FDA to establish a standard of identity in the United States for hummus under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.According to the petition, hummus must be comprised (by weight, besides water) predominately of chickpeas, and must be no less than 5% tahini.
That’s right, posers. No white bean hummus, no red bean hummus, no small dish of paste calling itself hummus. Hummus has always been a simple dish, a staple of Mideastern diets and made of unvarying ingredients. Then the hipster foodies came for it.
Although these two don’t look like they’ve ever laid eyes on the Mediterranean, they are online to demonstrate the only authentic hummus recipe. The key move is the sprinkle of cumin on top when it’s served.
I am so onboard with this movement that I am prepared to break it down into three separate stages:
- Stage One: No monkeying around. Limit the term hummus to the classic Mideastern recipe using chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice. Period.
- Stage Two: No vegetables. Deny use of anything except fresh warm pita bread, ripped into pieces from an 8″ round – for dipping. No carrot sticks, no celery sticks, no cucumber slices, no corn tortilla chips, no dehydrated sweet potato slices, no crackers and no commercial pita chips*.
- Stage Three: No Sabra. Give it up, Israelis. Stop trying to take over Arabic foods and pretending they were yours first. This goes for hummus and for falafel, too.
So there we have it. Go out and get a can of chickpeas and some tahini. Don’t under any circumstances substitute peanut butter for the tahini.
*I confess that on occasion, I have used a stuffed grape leaf as a hummus delivery device. Sue me.