CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 14

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M For years, hummus held the title of “Food I’m Least Excited Someone Brought Over.” Hummus was the staple dish of that one healthy friend who brought veggies to a par- ty when everyone else arrived with queso, wings, or bacon-wrapped anything. Con- trary to that person’s boasts, the little swirl of pulverized red pepper in the middle of the hummus didn’t suddenly make it exciting. My hummus title changed when I had good hummus for the first time. Good hummus isn’t just a dip. It’s a Levantine delight. I had never tried to make my own, assuming it required years of experience and a handwritten recipe passed down through generations on slowly disintegrating papyrus. It turns out hummus just a simple purée that anyone can create as long as they have the right ingredients and a healthy dose of patience. While Whole Foods has everything one might need to make hummus, there’s some- thing to be said for authenticity. Authentic hummus is Maureen Abood’s world. Abood is a Lebanese-American cook, writer, and photographer who shares her love of Lebanese cooking and traditional ingredients in every available avenue. You might recognize Abood’s name from her popular blog, Rose Water & Orange Blossoms, or her cookbook bearing the same name. You might have seen Abood’s YouTube tuto- rials or website articles. If you’re fortunate (or wise) enough, you’ve seen Abood’s name on a cooking kit delivered by mail. My Maureen Abood Market box, like other packages, arrived at my door. Unlike an Amazon shipment though, this one wasn’t 98 percent empty. The box was snugly packed with everything I needed to prepare my own hummus. During my excited wait for the delivery I researched tips on how to make hummus. It seemed as though the biggest obstacle was either peeling the chickpeas or waiting for them to soak. Depending on your level of patience either could be a nightmare. Upon opening the box and checking out the recipe card, instant relief brushed away my hyperbolic dread. The chickpeas provided by Maureen Abood Market are peeled and par-cooked. Any potential hassle was gone and now there was no reason to waf- fle on when I would actually make the dish. The answer was now. Don’t get me wrong; it still takes two hours to simmer hummus-bound chickpeas to perfection, but I was on my way. It gave me a chance to investigate the remaining treats in the box. Lebanon Valley Tahini, the second most important ingredient, is in a less than impressive container. Picture an opaque, white peanut butter jar. It remind- ed me of a tub of protein powder. What was inside was anything but unimpressive. A quick fingertip’s worth told me I was in for a treat. In place of the typical brown sludge was a smooth, creamy paste. Its wonderful nuttiness was so pronounced that I’d be willing to bet you could give it to a kid and tell them it was the aforementioned peanut butter. It was heaven in a jar. Alongside the key ingredients, were two equally important additions. There was a