The Jews, the perennial fly in history’s ointment, have never been able to resist the impulse to sabotage a good thing. We ruined a rich Egyptian tradition of public works projects by letting a hallucinating second-rate magician with a speech impediment lead us, as one might expect from a hallucinating second-rate magician with a speech impediment, straight into freedom at the heart of one of the world’s most inhospitable deserts. We managed to improve on that enormous step sideways by sticking around for forty years because the whirling column of flames we were worshiping at the time didn’t appreciate artistic self-expression. We managed to let two perfectly good commonwealths get destroyed, the second time by a gang of sheet-wearing bathhouse enthusiasts. We nailed someone who was by all accounts a pretty nice guy to a stick. We called in a few favors from the countries we owned through our control of global banking and brought the proud German Empire to its knees – which, I remind you, did not turn out well for us.
Yes, from electing to live in booths at the beginning of the rainy season to turning a shining, inspiring example of national resurrection into a despised pariah state, there’s little we can’t do wrong. And nowhere is this more obvious than in our beloved little network of blogs, which we quickly began dragging to death attached to the pickup of self-righteousness, repetitiveness and fantastically mediocre thought. Look no further than the (re-)erupting Jewish-Israeli Blog Awards controversy, a catastrophically pathetic clusterfuck of a few dozen Orthodox bloggers who, dissatisfied with the previously agreed-upon system of sitting in a circle and furiously stroking the Torah-true package to their left, split into two feuding factions. Very sad. And then of course there’s the current dust-up on this very blog, a dust-up which I must say has endeared our new blogess to me tremendously (I love the smell of fresh virtual blood), which I haven’t been following too closely but I understand has something to do with a guy who drowned his girlfriend in California to steal her cell phone for his child, and also something to do with the blogosphere’s most annoying blogger, a man who is going to love the gay right out of the queers (one foam party tryst at a time), a man who could make Bobby McFerrin projectile vomit through sheer force of debilitating optimism. But between the feuding, and the sniping, and the pressing issues of which bitch is getting run by which pimp, and the Bobby McFerrin projectile vomiting, and the ad nauseum debates over the relative merits of right vs. left, liberal vs. Orthodox, Labor vs. Likud, Tel Aviv vs. Jerusalem, Joanie vs. Chachi, it’s hard not to wish for a Blogocaust.
But as has been the trend in the long history of our people up to this point, the moment when things appear the darkest is exactly when a glimmer of salvation appears – when Jewish blogging seems bereft of all worth, one blog appears that reminds us of what makes Jewish blogging important. And that salvation, and that blog, unsurprisingly, are chickpea-based.
That’s right – it’s hummus. Hummus – the Middle Eastern food that gives me my only consistent reason to get out of bed in the morning. Hummus – the wipeable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hummus – the single most gravely misunderstood food by Americans (no, motherfuckers, it’s not a “dip,” and you can’t eat it with carrot sticks, and you can’t puree red peppers into it.)
Endeavoring to shed light on the glory that is hummus is the very first Israeli blog devoted entirely to hummus, Hummus 101, which comes in both Hebrew and English versions. The brainchild of a man named only Abu Shuki ha-Mekori, a cute reference to the flagship hummusiyyot of Abu Ghosh (there are two, across the street from each other, and both are named “The Original Abu Shukri”), Hummus 101 (or “Hummus for the Masses” in Hebrew) offers scholarly treatises on hummus’ health value and excellent recipes for both falafel and hummus for those deprived non-Israelis who don’t have access to the genuine article. And everyone in Israel, of course, has a favorite hummusiyya – mine is Ta’ami on Shammai Street, where the owner Moti knows me well enough that all I have to do is walk in and he presents my regular order (hummus fuul with falafel) without even asking – but Hummus 101 aims to broaden everyone’s horizons with accounts of field trips to hummusiyyot both famous and obscure, and even a few completely inexplicable (Israel’s first Yiddishe hummusiyya).
Unfortunately for some readers, the best content on Hummus 101 is in Hebrew…maybe Abu Shuki needs someone to volunteer to help translate some of the Hebrew content? I’d help if it would show my American countrymen that hummus is so much more than the slick gray abomination sold in your supermarket’s deli section.