Hummus! It’s the pale mystery paste moms and vegans everywhere love. But most people who consume it don’t really know the basic composition and history of hummus. Here’s where you can find out more about the culinary sensation.
Many people think hummus is made of ground chickpeas. Well, they’re half right. Hummus does indeed come from the ground. But what most people don’t know is that ‘chickpea’ is actually a mistranslation of the Arabic word ‘بعقب سحق’, meaning ‘rock sauce.’ That’s right: hummus is actually a paste of Middle Eastern pebbles!
But how do these little Arabic stones go from big pieces of sand to popular pretzel spread? For centuries, children throughout the greater Mesopotamian area have been taught to chew on these rocks for days at a time. Enzymes in their saliva break the rocks down into a fine paste, which is then spat into jugs for fermentation.
The fermentation process is a long one. The hummus you spread on your shawarma today has likely been sitting an Egyptian spittoon since the 1940s! Fortunately, recent advances in rock-chewing technology have quickened this process immensely.
The 21st century has seen many health fads come into and fade out of public favor. The amazing thing about hummus is, since it’s made from rocks and dirt, it’s virtually calorie-free! Also, it can come in a myriad of different flavors based on which children chewed it up! Egyptian tykes tend to produce a sharper, crisp flavor, whereas Lebanese tots’ enzymes result in a more earthy undertone. Hummus production truly is fascinating!