Make Hummus Not War (trailer)

This might be the most important documentary ever made about hummus, and it seems like real fan. Make Hummus Not War is here.

Make Hummus Not War“, a 77 minute documentary by Trevor Grahm, premiered last week in the Melbourne Film Festival (MIFF).

This is, I believe, the longest, most important and potentially the best film ever made about hummus (except maybe “The Hummus Enforcement Agency“).

Grahm, an Australian hummus fan who’s also pretty much in love with the Middle-East, was triggered to make this film by the “hummus war” between Israel and Lebanon (which makes it, again, one of the nicest war we had in the region).

hummus-not-war movie

Who owns hummus? This may not be the most important question.

He went on a quest from Israel to Lebanon to Jordan and the Occupied Territories and back, during which he interviewed dozens of people, including myself, about the origins, history, politics and culture of hummus. Read more

OMG! There's Hummus Ice-Cream!

A hummus flavored ice-cream doesn’t necessarily sound like a good idea, but we had to check it out.

It seems like it’s going to be really hot this summer in Israel, and I’m not even talking about the weather.

Although, I do think frustration from the unbearable hit and humidity has at list some contribution the the severity of social rage, that is once again occupying the streets.

But on my way to witness the extreme police brutality on Tel-Aviv the last Friday, I managed to save a short moment of escapist pleasure in the local branch of Legenda, a chain of Italian ice-cream places.

hummus ice-cream

They have over 30 different flavors of ice-cream and sorbet, some of which look really great.

Being a serious ice-cream addict who have just got back from 10 sunny days in Berlin, where “EIS” is everywhere and costs a third, I was trying to eat more hummus and less ice-cream for a while.

In Berlin, the weather was fine and we had bicycles, so the woman and I were cycling all day like crazy, burning enough calories to escape the consequences of our gluttony.

In Tel-Aviv, June is already too hot for moving on a bike – unless of course you’re a professional biker, or one of them skinny girls doing the Tel-Aviv bike tour thing, which nobody told them was supposed to be so sweaty. Read more

The Hummus Enforcement Agency

One morning, we woke up to a horrible new reality: hummus was outlawed, and a new kind of viscous police force walked the streets. They called them “The Hummus Enforcement Agency”.

As you may have realized by now, we got some serious problems here in Israel. Many of which result from stupid and corrupt politicians.

One of the side effects of our disfunctioning  politics is a series of new laws that put the very existence of our democracy in danger.

Add this to the poor social situation, resulting from an extreme right-wing economical policy, and you might understand why over 80% of the population supported our 99%-style protest last summer.

That’s also the atmosphere in which “The Hummus Enforcement Agency” (official website) emerged. This 13min movie by activist producer Eran Vered, is the common creation of numerous contributors, distributed for free via YouTube in an open-source model (cc-by-nc-nd). Naturally, I play the hummus guy… ENJOY!

21 Minutes of immense Pleasure

If there ever was a special Emmy award for hummus related TV, this episode of Good Eats would have definitely won. Until that happens, the award is all yours. Watch this video.

In most countries (including Israel) people are not familiar with this TV series, but in the States, Good Eats is a very popular cooking show. It is broadcast on Food Network since 1998, and every child knows the mad scientist character played by Elton Brown.

Unlike other cooking shows, which concentrate on explaining how to prepare food, Good Eats also explains why. The show presents the science and technique behind the cooking, the history of the different foods, the benefits and differences between ingredients and cooking methods, and everything else you would expect a crazy scientist to know.

Every episode has a theme, which can be a dish, a cooking method, a holiday or an event. Episode 14 in Season 14 was dedicated to hummus – both the legume and the paste.

In this episode, Brown analyses, among others, some very critical questions, such as the amount of time needed to soak the chickpeas, what does the Sodium bicarbonate do to the hummus, or what amino acids in the Tahini make the combination with the legume into a nutritional treasure. There are also some non Middle Eastern recipes.

In short, make time to watch this. You’re up to a very delightful experience.

Legumes in Passover, and more

Or: why is it a Mitzvah (religious commandment) to eat Masabcha in Passover. Also: what did our ancestors knew about cannabis that we still don’t know?

“Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachyah says: make yourself a Rav (teacher), acquire for yourself a friend and judge every man favorably”
Pirkei Avot, chapter 1, Mishna 6

First of all: no, it’s not really a Mitzvah to eat Masabcha in Passover. That’s part of my own interpretation of Judaism. Plus you can eat it without pita bread – an awkward thing to do with hummus. That’s because I, like most Jews, don’t eat bread (or pita bread) in Passover. Only there are some people who also don’t eat legumes in Passover – which is really too much if you ask me. Read more

Red Skhug: a Recipe and a Story

Skhug, if you will, is the Middle-Eastern version of Tabasco – only a little thicker and much more tasty. It is everywhere you look, especially if there’s hummus on the table.

Skhug (*) is one of several traditional hot pastes, that are common in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines – including the Moroccan Sahka, the Tunisian Arrisa, the Syrian/Iraqi Muhammara and others, all of which made mainly of chili peppers, garlic, and spices.

Skhug, specifically, is the most common in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Technically, it’s Yemen and is traditionally served with Yemen foods (such as Malawach and Jachnun), but you find it practically anywhere and with all sorts of foods. It’s almost always around when there’s hummus – and the combination is sheer genious.

There’s the green schug and red schug, both of which can be anything from slightly-hot to burning-hot. It’s nothing like Tabasco or Wasabi, though. Schug is not only hot and spicy, but also have the wonderful flavor of fresh peppers and herbs. The sensation is addictive. Read more

Lebanese Hummus in Tel-Aviv

During the recent “Hummus War” most Israelis were less worried about who wins and mainly became curious about how the Lebanese version of the dish tastes. And so, Lebanese hummus places in Tel-Aviv seem to do very well these days.

Some 120 years ago, my great grandfather, Zeev, found love in Lebanon. He married my great grandmother,  Mathilda, and took her back to his hometown, Sefad. That’s only one eighth of my blood, but that’s a very important eighth.

So when people ask me what my family origins are, I tell them “from Sefad” but that I have some Lebanese origins as well.

Topographically speaking, the mounts of Galilee (in the north of Israel) and a large part of Lebanon, are one geographical entity. There’s a natural resemblance in the foods and food culture of the two places, which were also both under the strong influence of Syria and the great Ottoman empire for hundreds of centuries.

So, I’m not surprised that every time I taste Lebanese hummus – or one the is said to be that – it tastes different. I think that like Israeli/Palestinian hummus, there’s no one single recipe but numerous genres and dialects, that tell a glorious story that is old – but sure is kicking.

Lebanese hummus in Tel-Aviv

Most Israelis I know did not take the hummus war with Lebanon too seriously. If anything, the discussion over this alleged rivalry has made the hummus enthusiasts is Israel more curious about the Lebanese version of the dish. Read more

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