Over the last few years, American demand for hummus has skyrocketed.
The result is that we now have some truly strange hummus variations, thanks to food companies attempting to appeal to American palates and increase market share.
But people in the Middle East have spent centuries perfecting diverse ways to eat hummus. And they do it better.
Hummus has been a staple of Middle Eastern cooking for centuries. It figures then, that some people take it really seriously, and even argue over who invented it. In 2008, for example, an association of Lebanese manufacturers threatened legal action to prevent Israel from selling hummus under the hummus name, which means chickpea in Arabic. (On a lighter note, the two countries traded rounds in a hummus war in 2010, battling to see who could make the biggest bowl. Lebanon won. For a great cookbook on food politics in the region, check out Jerusalem, co-written by an Israeli and Palestinian.)
But putting the debate over who invented hummus aside (perhaps Iraq wins because of the fertile crescent?), it is indisputable that the Middle East is home to wide-range of delicious recipes that embody the area's regional and culinary diversity. Palestinians and Jordanians eat the dish for breakfast, while Israelis are more likely to eat it in a hummusia for lunch. Many consider Syrian and Lebanese hummus the best in the world (anything Syrian and Lebanese, for that matter, is stereotypically bound to be delicious); Egypt's version is lackluster (no disrespect to the "mother of the world," but much of the country's cuisine isn't as tasty). Hummus is often garnished with Middle Eastern staples like fried pine nuts, lemon juice, chili pepper, na'na (mint), olive oil, chopped onions or, the Syrian favorite, pomegranate seeds.
For your eating pleasure, here are seven traditional Middle Eastern hummus recipes that everyone can enjoy.
1. Some Hummus basics
2. Hummus With Tahini
3. Hummus With Garlic
4. Hummus With Meat
5. Hummus With Ful
6. Hummus Msabaha
7. And for some not-quite-as-traditional fun, try hummus with pomegranate molasses.
Still hungry? Check out these other delicious ways to eat hummus.