What are the ingredients in American made hummus that differ from Middle Eastern hummus?  We have so many food additives in everything I just assumed we had food additives in our hummus too, at least maybe in the less expensive brands of hummus.  The more local it is, the less food additives and more pure it is right?  But the Whole Food store hummus all had chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and spices, just like mine!

I’m a Middle Eastern hummus virgin, so the fact that we are so competitive with food over here shows me that Middle Eastern countries are probably pretty afraid of us for a reason.  Maybe they do mess with their ancient hummus recipe in the Middle East.  Maybe it’s not as perfect as I think it is and dream it is.  But the Middle East is more fragile then we are and I have to support the country that is having the most trouble.  Could that be why we buy it?  Because we want to support a people who we think are less important than we are?  What is the psychology of food anyway?

What if the fast food people made hummus?  Heck, they opened fast food restaurants specifically for people in ethnic countries like India and the Middle East so surely they wouldn’t do a bad job of making vegetarian food for us here right?

So I checked out the ingredients in all the Whole Foods hummus and found that it’s all pretty much the same.  I was kind of surprised actually, because I just figured that our hummus wouldn’t even compare to the Middle Eastern ones.  But there was something called citric acid in there that I didn’t know.  I looked it up on Wikipedia and it was invented by an Islamic alchemist in the 8th century.  It doesn’t sound as bad as the chemicals we put into our convenience foods nowadays and since it was invented so long ago, it must be good for us right?

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Chickpeas are good for fiber, protein, energy, and a variety of other things that our other big starches in this world are not about.  If we only incorprated them into the big sellers at restaurants maybe we’d be skinnier.  Because weird things are already offered in the Middle East and we already copy their cooking, so we should start offering their food in McDonald’s.  Maybe if we blended them into french fries or beef burgers or even made falafel or hummus a menu item, we’d gradually cut down on the meat we use, and therefore, use less corn.

Could there be such a thing as chickpea chips?  There is falafel after all which is fried, so perhaps there could be a consolation in which we use gram flour or use some chemistry to get those chickpea nutrients into some junk food.  Because chickpeas are associated with vegetarianism maybe this appeal could strengthen the ties with other beans, which are just not as versatile as garbanzos.  You don’t put other beans on salads or at least they’re not offered at salad bars.

Chickpeas are accepted as one of the essentials to put on foods.  I’m sure the other beans are just as qualified, but el chickpea is different.  There’s something to be said for substitution and one could easily find another thing besides chickpeas to think about, but that’s not the point.  The point is that because these basic staples have been around so long, we should start respecting them all a little more.  Oh, maybe it’s not respect, but we take them for granted and with food quality and quantity, maybe we should think of these foods with a little more heart and soul and less about making them into products that have no business being in a grocery store.

I remember making this sweet dessert when I was a teenager at my church.  The sheets of pastry took forever to get together and assemble. 

I also recall calling balaclavas baklavas when I worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club.  See, balaklavas are ski masks that cover your face, except for your eyes, mouth, and nose.

The bad part of baklava, is that they don’t have chocolate.  In fact, I wonder if any Mediterranean desserts have chocolate?  Maybe they don’t believe in it or don’t have access to it.

So these Middle Easterners turn to honey nut pastry to satiate their bellies.  What if they sold baklava next to hummus?  Maybe if it had chickpeas in it it would sell better than it does.  There are chickpea desserts in the Phillippines called halo-halo.  Baklava has to be the most popular Middle Eastern dessert.  So why isn’t it marketed better here?  There’s even Halva, a chickpea sweet dish in Bangladesh.  What’s so scary about this dish that it’s not sold in diners or fast food restaurants or as a packaged snack?

I know baklava is not as healthy as some of our power bars, but are power bars and candy bars really all that healthy?  Baklava is just honey, pastry, and nuts.  It doesn’t give you any energy, but neither does pure sugar.  But baklava can be messy and those store bought candies are too easy and no fuss to shove into your mouth.

Ok, last thought.  I attempted to make baklava just now.  I put it in the oven and it looks pretty tasty.  The main problem was that it looked too liquidy because the orange blossom water I thought was supposed to be syrupy, is not.  I’ve never cooked with phyllo sheets before either, but I guess it’ll turn out ok.  I wonder how many middle Eastern mothers or fathers cook baklava.