HummusHummus with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and sumac
Hummus (also spelled hamos, houmous, hommos, hommus, hummos, hummous or humus; see romanization of Arabic) is a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Hummus is a popular food in various local forms throughout the Middle Eastern world.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Nutritional information
- 4 Serving methods
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
The word comes from Arabic حمٌص ḥummuṣ 'chickpeas'. Like other Arabic loanwords, its spelling in English is unstable. The earliest known use of the word hummus in English noted by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was in 1955. The three most common spellings for the word as transliterated into English are hummus, hommos and hoummos. The spelling humus is avoided in English due to its similarity to the English word humus, though this is the most common ] spelling and the OED indicates the word entered the English language from Arabic. The full Arabic name of the prepared spread is حُمُّص بطحينة (hummus bi tahina) which means chickpeas with tahini.
HistoryHummus with pine nuts
Many cuisine-related sources describe hummus as one of the oldest known prepared foods, with a long history in the Middle East which stretches back to antiquity but its historical origins are unknown. The main ingredients of hummus were known in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds, however it is unknown whether hummus bi tahini or any similar dish was made.
While the antiquity of hummus is not well documented, the history of its two principle ingredients is more widely understood. Chickpeas are hummus' main ingredient and have been a human food item for over 10,000 years. The chickpea was used as a food item in Palestine before 4000 BC, was a common street dish in ancient Rome and was one of the earliest crops cultivated in Mesopotamia. Archeological evidence identifies chickpeas in the Sumerian diet before 2500 BC. They are noted in a 13th century work by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Karim al Katab al Baghdadi of Persia for a "simple dish" of meat, pulses and spices.
Tahini (sesame paste) lacks a clear historical context, although sesame was grown in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian gardens and is mentioned by Columella. It was common in Roman and Persian kitchens in the form of sesame oil and not the tahini paste of hummus bi tahini.
Other ingredients are used in various versions hummus bi tahini. The olive originated in Syria and Palestine where it was being cultivated by the fourth millennium BC. A variety may have been indigenous to Crete, where olives were being cultivated by 2500 BC. The Bible mentions olive oil many times and it was exported from Palestine to places such as Egypt. Several Roman writers indicate salt was used in extracting the oil. Garlic was grown in the gardens of King Merodach-Baladan II of Babylon and probably was in Greece by the early Bronze Age. The lemon was last to arrive in the Middle East and Mediterranean world, originating in India. However, depictions of lemons have been found at Pompeii and Tusculum, so this fruit must have reached the Roman world, at least as a luxury import, by the first century.
No date or history has been documented as to when these items were first combined into the now widely-known food hummus bi tahini. Sources such as Cooking in Ancient Civilizations by Cathy K. Kaufman carry speculative recipes for ancient Egyptian hummus, substituting vinegar for lemon juice, but acknowledge we do not know how the Egyptians ate their chick-peas. Similarly, no recipe for hummus has been identified among the many books on cooking surviving from ancient Rome. Hummus has been noted as a food in 18th-century Damascus (although the same source claims it was unknown elsewhere) and is noted in one of the sources cited by the OED as a traditonal Arab dish.
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Depending on the recipe hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it provides essential amino acids. In the United States, the government is trying to introduce healthier food in school cafeterias to slow obesity rates; along with whole-grain pizzas and baked chicken nuggets, the new offerings include hummus. 
Serving methodsThis section needs additional citationsfor verification.
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As an appetizer and dip hummus is scooped with flatbread (such as pita). Hummus is also served as part of a meze or as an accompaniment to falafel, grilled chicken, fish or eggplant. Garnishes include chopped tomato, cucumber, cilantro, parsley, sautéed mushrooms, whole chickpeas, olive oil, hard-boiled eggs, paprika, ful, olives and pickles. Outside the Middle East it is sometimes served with tortilla chips or crackers.
LebanonLebanese style hummus topped with whole chickpeas and olive oil.
In Lebanon hummus is a traditional, widely consumed and very popular dish. Hummus in Lebanon may be garnished with colorful vegetables along with parsley and sumac. Pickled turnips along with pickled cucumbers and hot green peppers may be served on the side with a traditional garnish of sour pomegranate seeds. In Lebanon hummus is also served with whole chickpeas and olive oil on top. Hummus awarma is topped with minced meat, onions and pine nuts. Many Lebanese restaurants have introduced and made hummus a very popular dish to various cities around the world.
In Palestine hummus has long been a staple food, garnished with olive oil and mint leaves, paprika, parsley, or cumin. A related dish popular in both Jordan and the territories is laban ma' hummus ("Yogurt and chickpeas") which uses yogurt in the place of tahini and butter in the place of olive oil. The chickpeas are first boiled alone before the other ingredients are added, and it is served hot. The Palestinian hummus have many variations for example the Hummus masabacha is made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chickpeas and a sprinkling of paprika
In Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East Arto der Hartoiunian calls hummus "one of the most popular and best-known of all Syrian dishes" and "a must on any mezzeh table." Syrians in Canada's Arab diaspora prepare and consume hummus along with other dishes like falafel, kibbe and tabouleh, even among the third and fourth-generation offspring of the original immigrants.
In Jordan hummus mahluta (also known as kudshiya) is covered with a combination of ful paste and warm chick peas.
Hummus is a common part of everyday meals in Israel. Many restaurants in Israel, mainly the Arab Palestinian restaurants, are dedicated to hot hummus, which may be served as chickpeas softened with baking soda along with garlic, olive oil, cumin and tahini. The Israeli version of hummus is actually the Palestinian hummus variations, for example the Hummus masabacha is made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chickpeas and a sprinkling of paprika.
NotesWikibooks has a book on the topic of Cookbook:Hummus
- ^ eddybles.com, Feta Artichoke Hummus, retrieved 28 February 2008
- ^ a b c Pam Peters (2007). The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage. Cambridge University Press, 370. ISBN 0521878217.
- ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition) CD-ROM Version 3.1.1 (2007), Oxford, Oxford University Press
- ^ mideastfood.about.com, Hummus 101, retrieved 28 February 2008
- ^ choice.com, More about hummus, "Hummus has existed for thousands of years." retrieved 5 May 2008
- ^ insidehookah.com Food - Hummus, "...it is evident that it’s been a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean favorite, and sometimes staple, for thousands of years." retrieved 5 May 2008
- ^ www.straightdope.com, Who invented hummus?, 21 March 2001, "Hummus has been around for too long, in too many forms, and the origin is lost in antiquity... There's no way of knowing where it started...", retrieved 5 May 2008
- ^ Jaffe, Jody, bethesdamagazine.com, Scrumptious Hummus, 2007, "...hummus has been around since humans have been hunting and gathering... the history of hummus is murky, with several cultures claiming origin." retrieved 05 May 2008
- ^ Tannahill p. 25
- ^ a b Brothwell & Brothwell pp. 105-7
- ^ Tannahill p. 61
- ^ Tannahill p. 174
- ^ Brothwell & Brothwell pp. 157, 146
- ^ Tannahill p. 176
- ^ Brothwell & Brothwell pp. 154-7
- ^ Brothwell & Brothwell p. 109
- ^ Brothwell & Brothwell pp. 140, 269
- ^ James Grehan, Everyday Life and Consumer Culture in Eighteenth-Century Damascus ISBN 029598676X
- ^ 1970 Simon & Howe Dict. Gastron. 223/1 Hummus bi Tahina, a widely known, traditional Arab dish of cooked, puréed chick peas.+ It is served as a mezze or appetizer in Arab countries
- ^ Hummus NutritionData.com
- ^ FOXNews.com - Key to Fighting Childhood Obesity: Single-Serve Portions of Hummus? - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News
- ^ Ibrahim, Lailie, Institute for Middle East Understanding, Hummus, a Palestinian staple, 31 March 2006, retrieved 9 March 2008
- ^ Salloum and Peters, 1996, p. 204.
- ^ Arto der Hartoiunian Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, London 1983, p.33.
- ^ Paul R. Magocsi (1999). Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples. University of Toronto Press, p. 1244. ISBN 0802029388.
- ^ Even mentioned by the Israel Defense Force Cookbook, see Houston Chronicle "Diversity in the dining room helps ring in Israel's new year"
- ^ Food & Wine, May 2008; On the Hummus Hunt in Israel by Jen Murphy, p.66, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/everyday-food-of-israel-on-the-hummus-hunt
- Brothwell, C. D. & Brothwell, B. (1998), Food in Antiquity: A survey of the Diet of Early Peoples, Expanded Edition, John Hopkins Univeristy, ISBN 0801857406
- Salloum, Habeeb & Peters, James (1996), From the Lands of Figs and Olives: Over 300 Delicious and Unusual Recipes, I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1860640389
- Tannahill, Reay (1973), Food in History, Stein and Day, ISBN 0812814671
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