Hummus is a simple dish. Puree some cooked chickpeas and tahini, then add garlic, olive oil, salt, and a squeeze of lemon. If you’re feeling crazy, get some olives on the side and snack on them in between globs. Who would complicate this flawless recipe? Dunces.
The New York Times, in 2010:
“I’m making an American product,” [Majdi Wadi, chief executive of Holy Land] confessed sotto voce. “And this is what Americans want. Flavors and varieties and guacamole.”
Majdi was onto something. By 2014, two heavy hitters of hummus had emerged: Sabra, which held a commanding first-place grip on the market, and Tribe. Hummus had a flavor, but that flavor wasn’t enough for the American consumer. They wanted add-ons like roasted red pepper, or jalapeño, or pesto. Always with the pesto. (It’s a fine sauce, but please leave it out of hummus.)
The customization did not stop there. Creative but misguided minds began to use different bases for hummus. Imagine the era where basketball players began using their height to dunk, which opened up a new facet of the game, but in this case, for the worst possible results. This is beet hummus:
Take note of the ingredients in this Food Network recipe for black bean hummus:
The black beans are a substitute for the hummus, but where is the tahini? Garlic and olive oil don’t make it a hummus. This is just a tasty bean dip!
Finally, there’s chocolate hummus:
Of all the available food and all the available combinations, why would you do something so hateful towards the world we live in?
Like “fake news,” the meaning of hummus has been stretched and contorted to the point where it’s lost a clear definition. Let’s be clear: Chocolate hummus is not hummus. That is a chocolate spread that happens to have chickpeas in it. If that’s what you want to eat, that’s your right, but please do not besmirch the name of hummus.
Could this be a lack of distinction between hummus and tahini? That’s my only guess. Tahini’s a sesame paste, and a versatile ingredient that can be used for a confection like halawa. If you wanted to make a sweet spread, you would use that, but—again—it would not be “dessert hummus.” Personally, I blame the whites.
Here’s a reliable recipe for hummus. It’s great because it has only two steps, and one of them is optional.