Hummus with Pretzel Crisps?!

Yes, I admit to have eaten the delicacy mentioned in the title once or twice, I’m not proud of that though. And I never tried to convince myself that packaged hummus with pretzels will be good for me, or that it tastes good.

In this blog, I already discussed the poor situation of hummus in America, a few times before. Some of the questions asked here by my readers, also shed some light on the subject.

 

Sabra Greek Olive Hummus

Sabra Greek Olive Hummus

Yet, I was somewhat surprised to read about the new Sabra snack on Jewish Press.

Sabra To Go (and a similar product from the competing Tribe brand) is a combination of packaged hummus with Pretzel Crisps. Something that most the hummus lovers I know wouldn’t admit of ever eating. We’ve all tried it of course. It is a reasonable solution to a state of serious hunger, when all you have is leftovers of both hummus and pretzels.

Of course this is not a very nutritious choice, nor is it dietary or even that tasty. Not compared to real homemade hummus, or a hummus served at a good hummus place. It’s an OK food I guess. A little better than the regular junk.

But of course the Jewish Press reporter wouldn’t know real hummus if it hits him on the head. This is what he says:

“Hummus is increasingly being marketed as the ‘new food’ of the kosher connoisseur and is popular on the Shabbos table as well as for a snack. Hummus today comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from Classic Hummus, perhaps the most popular in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East, to more exotic flavors like Roasted Red Pepper, Spicy Hummus, Greek Olive Hummus, and more.”

Sad.

Comments

17 Responses to “Hummus with Pretzel Crisps?!”

  1. חומוס להמונים » להיט בארה“ב: חומוס עם בייגלה on June 20th, 2007 1:43 am

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  2. omni on June 25th, 2007 1:55 pm

    There are traditionalists who might object to the combination suggested in the title, however, these old-school notions can be put aside if we regard hummus for what it is….a DIP.

    When categorized thus, the culinary approach to this precious staple food can be broader.

    The creaminess of hummus matches perfectly with crunchy grain-based products such as pretzels, crackers, toast and my personal favorite: bread-sticks. In fact, a good cracker can even cover-up for poor quality hummus such as the one I regularly consume.

    When hard at work in front of a comp screen, writing replies such as this one, there is nothing easier then to take out my cheap commercial-brand hummus straight from the fridge and dip the bread sticks in. Its quite filling and I can go on for hours not needing much else.

    Another advantage is that there is no mess since all the crumbs stick to the hummus and there are no dishes to wash afterwards.

    It’s cheap too.

  3. Samira Hamdoun on July 24th, 2007 6:25 pm

    I am happy to find out about the hummus 101 website and agree that homemade hummus tastes a lot better than the processed-packaged Hummus.
    I grew up in Beirut where Hummus is like olives. We eat it as a snack or appertizer with all meals. It is always in the fridge, and freshly made from overnght soaked beans and fresh lemon juice and garlic plus the Lebanese great Tahini Sauce.

    I started making my homemade Hummus at Formaggio Kitchen store, a gourmet food store located in Cambridge, Massachussets almost three months ago and it is selling very well. I was surprised that more Americans knew about it than I had expected.

    The idea came to me when lots of my colleagues and faculty I work with at Harvard Univeristy, some of whom are jewish who tried my homemade Lebanese Hummus asked if I could sell it. They told me that the hummus they buy in the store had preservatives and too much soduim, and didn’t taste as fresh as mine.

    Formaggio Kitchen has chefs who cook every day fresh meals.
    I am making more Hummus each week as the demand is growing. I introduced the kalamata olives and roasted red peppers flavors in addtion to the original one. I am also making fresh Tabbouleh Salad and Babaganough. No one makes it as I do for any stores around here.

    I am thinking about making more and deliver it to other stores, so more people can enjoy the taste and health benefits of homemade hummus. I need capital to rent or buy a commercial kitchen but don’t have money to start my own business. Can anyone make suggestions how to start my homemade hummus business?

    I am thinking about making it for other stores too but need capital to rent or buy a commercial kitchen.

  4. shooky on July 24th, 2007 9:21 pm

    Dear Samira,

    In my house, hummus was also a kind of something you put on the table aside other dishes. We also had tahini with every meal. We have very good tahini in Israel two (although most of them come from Nablus).

    Congratulations for your entrepreneurship. It seems like a very goof idea, and I’m glad that you’re doing fine. It all sounds very exciting (except for the chili and olive stuff – sorry, don’t care for such variations much).

    here are a few tips:

    A. It sounds like you can use an investor, and making a well written BUSINESS PLAN could be an important step in that direction. There are many good how-to books about BPs, and probably lots of useful resources online.

    B. Why don’t you set up a website, or even a nice blog, about your new business? Shoot some nice photos of the hummus and other goods, give one or two “secret recipes”, tell the story of your business – and so on.

    C. I, for one, will like very much to write about it here when it happens. Who knows – maybe one of our readers would like to invest…

    Good luck.

  5. Samira Hamdoun on July 24th, 2007 9:47 pm

    Dear Shook,

    Thank you for your comment and kind wishes.

    Yes, it is exciting to have a business opportunity but it also requires lots of thinking and planning.

    I did think about having an investor, and I am aslo thinking about starting small on my own. The Market is new and the competitors such as Sabra are big and got financial resources for adverstisement and nice packaging. I am feeling good about this business opportunity because the other products are not homemade and don’t have the same health benefits.

    Thank you for the idea about creating a website with photos of the hummus and the other goods. I agree with you when you said that you would not care for the other variations of hummus with olives or Chili. Here in the US, people like to get variety of choices. It is a different culture than ours in the Middle East.

    Thank you for offering to wrtie about it from your end. You never know, maybe it would happen. I actually talked to an Israeli faculty who was visiting Harvard this year about investing in my hummus.
    He liked eating my hummus so much and encouraged me to sell it to Formaggio Kitchen. He and I joked about starting a Lebanese and Jewish business together. We predicted that It would be very successful since it would bring two of the best business people in the Middle East (Lebanese & Jews).

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  7. shooky on July 24th, 2007 10:09 pm

    Samira -

    The link is from the Hebrew version of this blog, and there’s also one from my personal blog. Who know…

    That’s a great story you have, with very good vibes. I do hope you’d make it big. Don’t forget to tell me when there’s where to link. Meanwhile, feel free to shoot a photo or two and send us so we can give a nice intro.

  8. Samira Hamdoun on July 24th, 2007 10:42 pm

    Dear Shooky,

    Sorry I misspelled your name earlier.

    I will shoot photos of my homemade Hummus and other food I am making for Formaggio Kitchen in cambridge, Massachusetts and send it to you. Every saturday I put a sampling table for people to taste the food. When People try it they go crazy about the creamy taste of “Samira’s Hummus” that the name of my hummus. It was suggested by the owner of the store.

    If I wanted to create my own website, do I have to pay a fee for it?
    I know the basic about creating new website, but my son Amir 17 and my daughter Yasmeen could help me.

    Please send me your email address so I can send the photos as attachments.

  9. talgalili on July 24th, 2007 11:12 pm

    Hi Samira, I just read what shooky wrote about your endeavor to unleash some good hummus out of the middle east. you have my best wishes !

    Good luck :)
    Tal.

  10. Elad on July 25th, 2007 7:29 am

    Hi Samira,

    You mentioned in your reply to Shooky that “Sabra are big and got financial resources for adverstisement and nice packaging.” – that shouldn’t stop you!

    Word of mouth would do you better than any advertisement… And you can beat Sabra’s size and packaging by offering to take back boxes from consumers, sterilize them and refill them – thus turning your product to a green product, which might better appeal to people out there – eating a good humus and not creating more waste at the same time.

    Anyways, good luck with it!

  11. Seg on July 26th, 2007 1:34 pm

    Hey Samira,

    Its great to hear your story, it all sounds like a truly wonderful initiative!

    I was just on a long trip in Germany, and before i came back i talked with my friend in Munich about opening a Humosia there. Yeah, if not in Munich, then somewhere else in Bavaria/Bad-Würrtemberg. I think it could really work – not only in Germany, but also in the United States. I feel it has a nice.. virgin.. market. It could even be better if it will be opened with a muslem-jewish parternership. Not only it could be fun, but it could also be a great way to spread a message of unity and peace.. (something which obviously also has a strong effect on marketing).
    Have no fear. If you open a place with fresh humos, the israelis will definitely be hanging there. Industrial packed humos can never ever compete with good, homemade, humos – every 5 yrs old knows that here. There might not be a *humos culture* in the USA, so people dont know that, but they’ll learn fast.

    GOOD LUCK.. i wish you all the best..
    Itay.

    p.s. i might go in the Humos Biz.. can you please email me? Im at =zin5 at yahoo dot com=. I’ll just save it.. and maybe ill be able to help you somehow sometimes soon. Not sure, uhm, but it’ll be good to have you in my contacts.

  12. Samira Hamdoun on July 26th, 2007 5:17 pm

    Hi Seg,

    Thank you for your support and kind wishes. Good luck to you too on openning a Humos store in Germany. Is Humos popular in Europe as it is in the Middle East?

    I agree that the market is still new … or “virgin” as you called it, and there is room for people like us ( who grew up on Humos) to make it big with careful planning and good marketing strategies.

    I like what you wrote about having a muslim-jewish partnership or in my case a Lebanese-Israli partnership and how you described it as a message of peace and unity. AS a marketing idea, I think it is great.

    I am not afraid of other competitors in the US such as Sabra who use very attractive and colored packaging, I have a great confidence that my homemade Humos will sell better when more and more people get the chance to try it.

    Best of luck to you too.

    my email is [shamdoun@law.harvard.edu]

  13. Samira Hamdoun on July 26th, 2007 8:52 pm

    Hi Elad,

    Thank you for your advice about sterilizing the containers and making my Hummus product green products. It is a great idea and it may appeal to a lot of people who believe in saving the environment.

    Sabra’s colorful and commercial packaging will not scare me. Just today, I brought a sample of my hummus to a store that sells Sabra’s Hummus to
    sell it there. I will let you what the manager will say.

  14. Bobby on December 11th, 2007 12:59 am

    Great idea, Samira! Best wishes to you and your business i am sure you will prosper. (i love hummus and i think its a great idea to make it more natural and healthier!)

  15. hummus lover on April 23rd, 2009 12:58 am

    That was a joke right? The whole Samira thing?

  16. Vinny on July 16th, 2009 6:02 am

    I do not like the Sabra brand, their hummus has artificial (cancer causing) preservatives in it (like potassium sorbate!), and has canola oil instead of olive oil, that’s just not acceptable in my view for hummus.

  17. shooky on July 16th, 2009 4:02 pm

    Vinny – I doubt it if there’s anything that causes cancer in Sabras hummus, although it’s true that packaged hummus is not very healthy.

    BTW, there’s nothing wrong with canola oil (it’s rich in Omega-3 for example), only hummus should NOT contain oils of any kind. The only fatty ingredient hummus needs is tahini – oils are a cheap alternative, used by cheap people.

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