Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Hummus is a Levantine food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.  Today, it is popular through the Middle East, North Africa, and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.

I grew up in a household of very limited cooking abilities.  When my Mother married my hillbilly father, his mother taught my Mom how to make the staple of the Hillbilly Diet, biscuits.

And my Mom made them good but as she often said, "Not as good as Mrs. Tipton makes them."  But her mother-in-law told her "If you're going to marry one of my sons (she had eleven sons, no daughters) you going to have to feed him biscuits or else your marriage won't last."  For sixty years my parents were married and I can barely remember a day that my Mom didn't make my father biscuits, sometimes twice a day.

Homemade Hillbilly Biscuits
The Irish have their potatoes, the Italians have their pasta and hillbillies have their biscuits - major diet staple - goes with anything - slather gravy on top - YUM!

Other than biscuits (and gravy), my Mom's culinary skills were rather ("rawther") limited.  

Once I got away from home (at 18 years of age going the Army) I had food for the first time in my life that I never "et" before.  "Exotic" food like veal, rice (regular rice not rice pudding which is what I thought Chinese always ate, rice pudding), salads (we had corn on the cob and pickled beans, a salad bowl never graced our table), and chili (my Mom's version of "chili" was string beans and tomatoes - NO chili powder - first time I ever tasted chili powder was when I was in the A.R.M.Y).  You get the idea?  Haute cuisine was not the forte at the Tipton Household.  Fried chicken, pig's feet
and beans (yum!), squirrels and dumplings (I'm telling the truth), an occasional buckshot loaded rabbit (have your teeth crunch down on a rabbit leg with just ONE buck shot and WOW, you're breaking your tooth), and of course that old hillbilly mainstay scrapple which is basically seasoned cornmeal and all the parts of a left over butchered pig including the ears, snout, and . . . . . butt hole (oh my father always had a great time of reminding me and my brothers that we were eating pig asshole).  So you get the idea. 

Scrapple - I LIKE! (as long as it's cooked properly)

Once I got away from home, first stop the Army, I was introduced to a whole new culinary kaleidoscope of foodstuff to put down my pie hole. I won't go through the whole itinerary on this blog post, which longer already than I had planned, but suffice it to say I've migrated away from pulling squirrel skulls out of Mom's famous Squirrel and Dumpling Stew and sucking squirrel brains out of the dead squirrel's eye sockets (true story - Pop loved it! Used to make a big sucking sound every time sucked these squirrel brains out) to my current fav: HUMMUS

Poor Pop, he must be rolling over in his grave now knowing that I'm eating an ARAB dish.  Mom too.  I loved both of my parents (Mom more than Pop) but both were brainwashed, conspiracy Fox News addicts.  They would never eat one of THOSE dishes that the A-RABS ate.  I'm eat hummus every day.  I've been eating hummus every day for about six years now.

So how did I come upon Hummus?  As regular followers of this blog know I work part-time at a chi chi boutique hotel in Lewes, Delaware.  Frequently we have "events" at the hotel which is nothing more than an off site for business meetings or some other such gathering of Our Betters who will decided how they're going to get our money (see my earlier "Sheep and Wolves" posting).  Many of these events are catered by local chi chi chefs.  And I'm not talking a Big Bag of KFC chicken.  Oh no, we have the fou fou Food.  "Stuff" like broccoli rate (delicious!) and all such manner of for hors d'oeuvres.  In the Tipton household hors d'oeuvres would be pickled string beans.  

About six years ago, after one such event I was helping my co-worker Sandi (who was the event coordinator) to clean up after the event.  As so often happens, there were left overs.  


She showed me this one huge bowl of a pale, tan mush.  I said "What's that?"  She said "Hummus"  I said "What's that?"  She repeated herself "Hummus."  I said "I don't know what hummus is. I've never heard of it."  She asked me "How old are  you?" (I was 66 at the time, old enough to know better but still attractively ignorant as I am today - he said tongue in cheek - don't always take everything I say seriously folks in this blog - lighten up) 

She said "Taste it!"  I eyed the light tan mush that reminded me of cat poo and tentatively dipped my forefinger into the bowl and deposited about a half teaspoonful on my finger with I "put the plane in the hanger" in my mouth. 

Hmmmmm . . . . good!  I like!  Thus folks, that evening, I was converted to hummus.

Now most folks use hummus as a dip.  That's fine but what I use hummus for is to slather it on a wrap, sprinkle it with feta cheese (another Arab food, oh how my parents' must be twirling in their final resting places) and roll it up,  cut it in half and have my hummus wrap with homemade soup for lunch . . . . every day.  Yes  you read that right folks. . . . EVERY DAY.

But I had a problem, I could only buy hummus in the little "dip" packages in the local supermarket Food Lion.  Quite an expensive proposition if I'm eating a hummus wrap every day.  Fortunately I found that the wholesale store in Millsboro (B.J.'s) offers industrial sized hummus.  Thus my regular forays to B.J.'s were started by my addiction for hummus.

Oh this blog posting is going on a lot longer than I intended.  I'll wrap up this sordid tale now.  Yesterday I decided to make my own hummus.  I was inspired by my friend Pat who makes his own hummus all the time.  He just whips up a batch, thinks nothing of it.  So, thusly inspired I got the ingredients and MADE IT.  

Guess what folks?  IT WAS DELICIOUS!  WOW!  Better than store made.  And so simple to make.  Well, sort of.  You have to put all the ingredients in a blender and the consistency is sort of like cement, especially getting it out of the mixer.  My hummus recipe isn't a smooth and creamy as the store bought but man oh man, is it ever tasty.  

Here's the recipe:

You Will Need
  • One 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (we used Krinos)
  • Half of a large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Dash of ground paprika for serving

So there you go folks.  Chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini (ground sesame seed), garlic, kosher salt, olive oil, cumin and water. Simple . . . . and delicious.  

Sorry B.J.'s, I make my own hummus from now on.  Again, just another example of what I make homemade is way better than anything I can find and buy in the store or restaurants.  

My red skin potato salad is to die for.


Bob Slatten said...

We adore hummus here at Casa Bob y Carlos, and we add a dash of cayenne to it for an extra kick!

Jon said...

Another delightful post, Ron. I don't like chickpeas, so I suppose hummus is out. I'll try anything once, however, so - who knows - maybe I'd like it. You've certainly given us some keen insight into hillbilly cuisine. I never tasted squirrel stew until I moved to the Missouri Ozarks. My ex-lover Frank was a hillbilly and he used to make it (I have an incredibly long story to tell about Frank, but I'll spare you. I'd love to blog it, but I dont't want to horrify all the mid-western church ladies who read my blog....).

My father used to love pickled pigs feet and he wasn't a hillbilly. Mom wouldn't eat it. I tired it a few times but hated the bristles - - the big hairs that stuck out of the feet. Holy Gawd.......

pat888 said...


Congrats on your success at hummus. And there are so many recipes for it. My last batch I didn't use tahini. It turned out great. I can't help but think of an irony here. Toronto is a city of restaurants. Yet our parents and grandparents hardly went to one. Everyone does now. And of course one of the main selling features of condos (we are condo city too - we've been the biggest condo developing city in North America - maybe in the world tho I suspect there's lots going on in China) is beautiful stainless steel kitchens with granite or quartz countertops. It just seems so important to so many whom I suspect don't use them all that much. Sort of like "I wouldn't live in a condo without a balcony". One can witness a zillion balconies in Toronto daily and see only furniture and plants. Sometimes you see someone having a cigarette. I'm inspired by your talents in the kitchen Ron. I seem to be getting beyond steamed vegetables. Sorry for the long post a comment.


Nadege said...

Hummus is delicious! Your homemade one looks really good. Fresh is always better anyway. You should cook your own garbanzo beans. You just have to let them sock for 12 hours, then cook them for 1 hour. They are so good; I eat them like I would do nuts. I am sure Pat has a recipe for them. In winter, I cook the beans in water; put them on a cookie sheet once out of the water, sprinkle spices on and put them in the oven until they get golden brown.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ron. According to Cooks Illustrated if you microwave your garbanzo beans for a minute before you put them in the blender/food processor your hummas will be smoother. I've done it and can attest that it is the truth. Really enjoy your blog!

wcs said...

Cool! I love hummus, too, although I can't say I eat it as often as you do. I also make my own, since it's hard to find in our country groceries. I also have to make my own tahini (I can find sesame seeds in bulk at Asian stores in the closest city). Yum!

WARPed said...

Hi Ron,

Have you tried tabouli? (another Levantine dish.)



Raybeard said...

OMG, I had to quickly scroll this down on arriving at a certain pic, but I got the gist.
Never had hummus. So you're a garlic-lover, Ron? (I am NOT) But never mind, I think all the friends that I ever had had liked their garlic. Afraid that for me it so overwhelms the food with taste and smell unpleasant, that when given it in a meal by 'accident' it's a trial to get the food itself down.

the cajun said...

I've always made my hummus. I used to make special orders for friends at work. There is no limit to the varieties you can make, just use your imagination. I don't have it daily, but whip up a batch when I am in the craving mode.

Ron said...

the cajun,
Hummus is my new "go to" food. This recipe I made for the first time was basic. Future recipes I will experiment. I still remember my very pleasant surprise when I first tried hummus at the hotel. I could not believe how good it was and all the lost years that I lived without hummus. I have it every day now. My next batch I intend to spice it up.

Ron said...

My Mother hated garlic. Some people have a natural aversion to garlic, I understand that. I hate fish or any type of seafood. Makes me gag just to think about it. In my post I forgot to mention that my Mother never used garlic in any meal she made. I grew up never tasting garlic until I got away from home. Of course I LOVE garlic now. However, I don't like garlic breath. Whenever I ate anything with garlic my Mother would say "You've been eating garlic again haven't you?" and then make a face. I loves me garlic!

Ron said...

No, I haven't tried tabour but I've heard of it. When I visit Pat in Toronto I'm going to attempt a "Vegan Challenge" and eat nothing but vegan meals. I'm sure tabouli will be on the menu.

Ron said...

Every day I eat hummus, store bought. But now I'll be making my own. Homemade, as usual, is so much better. I just made a wonderful tomato cucumber red oinion salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Fresh cherry tomatoes from my very own compost pile. Yum!

Ron said...


Hey, thanks for the tip. That was the only problem making my own hummus yesterday, I had difficulty pureeing the garbanzo beans. And I don't want to buy one of those $600 blenders. Glad you enjoy by blog. I love doing it.

Ron said...

You are so right, "Fresh is always better." Every time I make something from scratch, I never cease to be amazed at HOW GOOD IT IS.
Thanks for the tip on garbanzo beans but I don't think I'll do the "soak the beans overnight thing." Done that too many times and it just seems like a LOT of work and I can't really tell the difference. I really liked that hummus I did yesterday though. Now to do the variations, especially a spice version. I do like spicy.

Ron said...

Thanks for the "vegan" challenge you gave me today for my visit to you in a couple of weeks. I'm all up for it. I just made a tomato/cucumber/red onion balsamic vinaigrette batch with my home grown (in my compost pile) cherry tomatoes. Another very tasty veggie concoction. Every time I make one of these wonderful veggie meals I think of all the years I wasted eating processed food junk and meat, meat, meat. I'm really looking forward to touring as many Toronto restaurants as I can during my two week sojourn in your fair city.

Ron said...

Excellent suggestion! I do like spicy. And I definitely like an "extra kick."

Ron said...

I suspect that some who read my post about hillbilly food thought I was exaggerating. Oh no, I was definitely not exaggerating. "Pop" put just about anything on the table he could shoot. Thank God he never put a possum on the table. Plenty of squirrels though. He used to make me and my brothers skin the squirrels. Ugh! About the only wild game he shot that I did like was pheasant. Still, there was a problem with the buckshot. One always had to be careful not to crunch down on one of those buckshot pellets. We had rabbit a few times, I didn't like it. Pop was funny though, he would never eat what he called "baby animals" (veal, lamb, and something else I can't remember). For a short time when he was a teenager he worked at a slaughter house and was horrified and disgusted with the killing of "baby animals." He didn't mind killing just about everything else though. And yes, I remember the pigs feet with the bristly hairs. Actually, pigs feet and beans wasn't too bad, just look out for those bristly hairs that get caught between your teeth. Um. . . . not going there.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the photo of your flowers on your header; perhaps a video tour of your garden before you depart for vacation if you have time?

Ron said...

Excellent suggestion! I will do that. Thanks for the reminder.


Anonymous said...

I like hummus. I don't eat it too often, but I find if I get fixated on a food, it loses its cache after a while.

I am sure homemade hummus is much better than store bought, and I'll get you can "lighten" yours up a bit with a tad more water and olive oil (if you don't want cement).

Peace <3

Raybeard said...

It hasn't been material to me for many years now, but being expected to kiss someone with a garlic breath was every bit as difficult as doing it to someone with smoker's smell. I needed to be well and truly sozzled first before I could bring myself to do it without giving away the revulsion I felt. But it's interesting that you got to like garlic despite your mum's antipathy to it. Your choice - and good for you!

Ur-spo said...

I love hummus: i would eat some daily if allowed