I have a confession to make. One that, as a daughter of an immigrant, people who expect their children to be obedient and proud of their parents, is bad. It’s a food confession and my worst food memories. Perfect for The Peche’s #IACPPP Grand Prize Writing Challenge.
Hummus. A simple food, yes? Well, in my world, hummus is more than just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Way more than the sum of its parts. So, here’s the thing. For the majority of my life, my father has owned a market. Jerusalem Market sells lots of delicious food – chocolates, nuts, oils, cured meats, cheeses. He also makes amazing food – spinach pies, tabouli, baba ghanouj and.. hummus. He’s Palestinian and the food he was raised on is the food he loves to share with the world.
He is a from-scratch purist, he was a food snob before it was cool. Tabouli chopped by hand, hummus made from dried and cooked chickpeas, homemade dough, no details are missed. Thankfully, our community in North Carolina has given us a pretty great reception since opening in 1989. Of all the foods he makes, the hummus is a star. I’ve heard a customer tell my father that he traveled in Jerusalem and my father’s hummus is STILL the best he’s eaten.
But for me, growing up, the hummus broken record was annoying. My mother’s fix-it snack if you’re hungry is hummus and crackers. For my taste buds, the same snack for twenty years is overkill. So while I appreciate my father’s hummus, it’s not an addiction like it is for many.
When I moved to New York, I realized that hummus is good, and I missed having it around. Being greatly disappointed by Sabras, Tribe and most store brands, homemade hummus was just the way to go. The purist list of ingredients has always been ingrained in my head, so I just started playing around with ratios. And one day, after I tasted a particularly brilliant batch straight from the food processor, it hit me.
I felt terrible. Like a horrible daughter. Because I thought my hummus was
way better than my father’s. The food that funded most of my childhood. That brought praise in from all angles. A food this man has been making for more years than I’ve been alive.
If any of my readers are first generation kids, they probably understand the guilt that comes with this kind of reaction. Respecting your elders is not just a general idea, it’s serious childhood teaching. You are supposed to appreciate everything your parents supply to your life, and repay them in any way possible as an adult. What kind of ungrateful daughter thinks her hummus is more delicious than her talented cook of a father? And even worse, she admits it.
Yes, I’ve admitted it to the world. So my repentance for this is to give you my recipe. Simple, easy, it will feed a crowd. But, when it comes to confessing this to my father’s face, well, hell might freeze over before that happens.
Horrible Daughter Hummus
- 2 cans (28 oz) chickpeas
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup lemon juice & pulp (2 lemons worth)
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Place the garlic into the food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the lemon juice and pulp, tahini and olive oil. Combine until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds. Add the chickpeas and let the machine run for 30-45 seconds.
- Add the water to the food processor and from here, let your machine run for at least 60 seconds, up to three minutes. The longer it runs, the creamier and more luscious your final product will be.
- At the end, add the salt and pepper, stir and taste.* Refrigerate for 2 hours (or overnight) for best flavor.**
- Top with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and paprika and a generous pour of olive oil.
*This recipe is flexible. Adjust the flavorings to your preference. If you prefer a more lemony hummus, add the zest of one lemon. A few additional chopped garlic cloves can be added for a stronger garlic punch. Roasted garlic cloves may be used as well.
**If you are going to refrigerate your hummus, wait to adjust salt after refrigeration. The flavors get more intense and thus less additional salt [if any] may be needed.