Ahhh…which hummus is which?

February 27, 2011

Why are there so many different brands of hummus out there?  They seem to vary depending on where you live.  Hummus is so simple.  It’s just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and spices.  Why is the US marketplace so competitive for hummus?  It must be America that makes so many different brands pop up.  I know, it’s the immigrants who brought it over, but maybe they’re so proud of their heritage, they push their hummus that much further. 

But it can’t all be immigrants who own the hummus companies.  I know every food here has competition.  Just look at pizza for example.  There’s so many different frozen brands and then we have pizza restaurants.

I know we have a lot of Middle Eastern restaurants, but it’s definitely not as high as Chinese, Italian, or even Japanese.  So why has hummus taken over our display cases and why are there no hummus monopolies?

I have to ask.  Which brand is most similar to Middle Eastern hummus?  Is authentic hummus too good for us and so we “settle” for the store brand? Do we like it warm or cold better?  With chips or pita or veggies? Just think, no other bean is as commercialized as the garbanzo, except, of course, the soybean, which is a vegetarian bean as well.  Maybe someday, lentils or black beans will be competing amongst themselves for the highest bidder, but until that day, we’ll just have to make do with chickpea domination.

Price = Power

February 18, 2011

What is the price of hummus in the Mediterranean and why is it so expensive here?  It seems that in the Middle East, hummus and Mediterranean foods would be inexpensive because aren’t all poorer countries cheaper than pricey American goods?

Where do they get their chickpeas from?  I have my sources that chickpeas are mostly grown in India, with a staggering 6 million tons from there.  There are even two kinds of chickpeas, Desi and Kabuli.  Desi is dark, and Kabuli is lighter in color.  These cicero beans can be a coffee substitute and as you can see from recipe books, incorporated numerous ways into dinners and snacks. 

Do we take chickpeas as seriously as our friendly neighbors?  It seems like we do because this hummus fad might be here to stay.  I buy my dried chickpeas from an Indian grocery for about ten dollars so it’s much cheaper than buying it from a grocery store for half the price, but a tenth of the product. 

I still don’t understand why the store bought hummus is so expensive!  It’s this little secret that no one wants to talk about.  I tried asking Whole Foods about their prices, but they refused to talk about prices.

Do they have hummus in other countries and price it as heavily as we do?  It must be an American Lebanese immigrant thing that has just been capitalized on because we Americans are gullible for new product since our culinary tastes are all over the map.

What new food will take over the fad land next in stores?  Will lentils ever make it big?  The American grocery store is a land that is ever evolving and changing and maybe someday our hummus authenticity will match up to our feuding neightbors, but in the meantime I’ll still worship my friendly Oasis.

I don’t even really like hummus sometimes.  I just make it because it’s cheap and healthy and tastes moderately ok.  But it’s a pureed food.  Only old people eat pureed foods.  I know that because I worked at a retirement community where we served mushy meats  and vegetables to people who don’t have teeth or the energy to eat “real” foods.  And they eat it!  They like the mushy food.  Maybe I’m turning into an elderly person.  It’s not too bad being old besides being attracted to mushy food.  I wonder if older people like hummus more than younger people. 

But I know that can’t be true because little kids eat pureed foods as well. I keep hearing about Moms who feed their kids hummus and they LOVE it! I bet you could make anything into a pureed food.  I just looked up some pureed food recipes and found spaghetti and meatballs and chicken noodle soup- all as a pureed food!

And of course we have milkshakes and smoothies- those we just take for granted because they’re presumably healthy and taste good too. 

But back to the question if hummus is cool to younger people.  I think it must be cool to them because I hear about these Middle Eastern restaurants that are doing awesome business.  When I did my survey asking people what their favorite dip was, hummus did come up, but I think there is some competition from Mexican dips like guacamole and layer dips.

So maybe they’ll start serving hummus in nursing homes soon. Hey, you never know!

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