For the Love of Hummus

Delicious, delicious hummus.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hummus is in the eye of the beholder

A. Ha. Lan. (wasahalan, worthy readers).

Well, another Purim come and gone. Here is one of your favorite hummus-bloggers, brightly dressed in solidarity with the 5 billion other revelers parading through the streets of Jerusalem.

Now it's almost time for Pesach! Aka that time of year where we like to pretend our ancestors came from someplace a bit more Sephardi than Eastern Europe. Like anywhere but Eastern Europe. Deciding to eat kitniyot two years ago was the greatest decision both Rachel and Dafna ever made in the history of their lives. And, according to the Baba Nassi, aka the Great Ga'on of South Bend, aka some guy in the shuk, once you eat kitniyot, you can never again suffer through a totally unnecessary ban on corn or rice during Pesach ever again. Pass that Bamba, Elijah.

Anyway, before Dafna starts sanitizing her yogurt and Rachel finishes scrubbing the chametz off her toothbrush, we thought you'd appreciate some pictures. A visual round-up, if you will. See that? See what happened? You really thought you'd escape the round-up this time. You were so close. Some of these are cultural, some are archaeological. All would certainly be excluded from a Google picture search if you have SafeSearch turned on. That's just what we do.

Here are some Arab dancers/drummers/hoop skirt twirlers performing in the Old City a few nights ago, part of a pretty genius nighttime music festival in the different quarters. Some Middle Eastern, some classical, some soul, plenty of oud and a whole lot of co-existence going on.

Here was this gigantic group of Haredim in Mea She'arim yesterday. We couldn't quite figure out what was going on, but were later informed it was the funeral for a famous Rabbi who had a lot of followers. It was intense. Great place to be if you like the crush and bustle of a crowd.

Ah, yes, this is quite a gem. Pictured here is the Hilton Beach Horde, uncovered by archaeologists just today mere inches below the modern strata of the site. Notice the placement of the shells and the pirate symbols found on the sheet they were wrapped in. Lab analysis is ongoing, but we're fairly sure this horde is connected to...

...this incredibly rare, ritualistic cult pattern dating to the 8th millenium BCE. Experts consider the circular pattern symbolic of a Late Helium Age society worshiping Zoglobek, God of Schnitzel.

Finally, here we have the Yarkon River, once a major river in ancient times, now a nice place to take a leisurely afternoon bike ride when city life gets to be a little

That's all for now. Any more archaeology information and we'd have to start charging tuition. Tune in next time!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Celebrating Humus

By Rochelle Mass

In Acre, by the sea, Yusuf makes it coarse with cracked kernels
crispy as pecans.

A man called Kobi serves it to me smooth as velvet in the
last row of the Tiberias souk.

On the highway, near the number 80 Army Camp they fill the center
with tehini, lace it with olive oil.

The Ahmed brothers, in Afula, run a place with a kosher stamp,
a Rabbi sits at a table near the kitchen inspecting what goes in and out.
The brothers pile whole buds in the center, add bits of parsley
big enough so I recognize the shape of the leaf.

Just past the memorial to fallen fighters, at the Golani junction
I ask for hot fava beans to fill the middle, with paprika sprinkled
over the steam till the surface glows.

On Yermiyahu street in Tel Aviv, my serving arrives ashkarah style
with a full radish, green onion stalk, an egg boiled brown.

No matter the recipe or the service, humus is to be wiped. I tear
pita quickly, twist firmly into the taupe mass, reach for
cracked Syrian olives and diced salads that parade the humus
till the table swoons in peppery sharpness
till pickled aromas challenge the minted tea
till my celebration ends.

(Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Volume 5 – 2003, p. 163
National Council of Jewish Women / New York Section)