}

The blogosphere’s saving grace.

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.

hummus101.jpg

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.

49 Comments

  1. Steves Rick

    4/11/2007 at 12:21 pm

    Nah Humus will never make it in North America. Yes there are too many blogs for sure.

  2. Barbara E.

    4/11/2007 at 1:40 pm

    And your problem with veggies dipped (yes, I said “dipped”) in hummus would be what precisely? One isn’t always — or even frequently — in the mood for pita triangles.

  3. harry

    4/11/2007 at 2:03 pm

    Anyone who uses the term “pita triangles” should not be allowed to eat hummus.

  4. themiddle

    4/11/2007 at 2:04 pm

    Pitas only come in triangles in one country in the world, I believe.

    Damn, I’m hungry now.

  5. michael

    4/11/2007 at 2:05 pm

    If one cannot muster the respect a food with thousands of years of tradition deserves, one should not be eating hummus. And pita triangles? Are you fucking serious?

  6. ck

    4/11/2007 at 2:09 pm

    Be nice Michael and Harry. Sometimes pita triangles is all you have. Especially if you insist on it being kosher.

  7. themiddle

    4/11/2007 at 2:15 pm

    Pita triangles are a big deal here now. It used to be the small local Palestinian hummusier manufacturing them on the side to encourage the “dip” perception, but recently I’ve been seeing mass produced bags of the things in the Pac. NW.

  8. harry

    4/11/2007 at 2:17 pm

    Wait, you can buy them already cut? I thought that people were cutting them up on their own. I’m even more offended.

  9. michael

    4/11/2007 at 2:19 pm

    If you can find kosher pita triangles, you can find kosher pita. Or you can make your own bread. Tradition, goddammit!

  10. Barbara E.

    4/11/2007 at 2:27 pm

    I am dipping green peppers, cucumber slices AND pita isoceles triangles in hummus RIGHT NOW. And I won’t stop.

  11. Faith

    4/11/2007 at 2:28 pm

    Michael – you make me laugh my chametz all over my computer screen. Your writing is brilliant and I come to Jewlicious to hear what you have to say. Thanks for turning me on to the closet case with a thing for gay advertising. Looking forward to following his diatribes too.

  12. michael

    4/11/2007 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks, Faith!

  13. harry

    4/11/2007 at 2:52 pm

    I bet that Silverstein loser dips his triangles in Palestinian hummus.

  14. DK

    4/11/2007 at 3:41 pm

    Why do YOU PEOPLE keep insisting this dip is a meal instead of an appetizer?

  15. beingbebe

    4/11/2007 at 3:50 pm

    Your Jewlicious title got me but your writing hooked me. I enjoyed your mini-history of the Jews- brilliant. I’m bookmarking you, dude!
    It is as it ever was. Jews have always survived on humor, humus and hummus. My husband says that it is the mortar that has held us together lo these many millenium.
    Here in NY hummus is indeed ubiquitous, although not always with the “cchh” sound at the beginning. And sadly, despite an abundance of Middle Eastern pita makers in the city, both kosher and non, there are indeed several pita “chip” products (flavored, yet!) which I disdainfully eschew with contempt. Feh! That said, I must confess to a special fondness for a toasted pita. The addition of the crunch factor optimizes the hummus experience. And, the triangle shape maximizes the toastable surface area thereby producing a particularly crispy and enjoyable point.
    It’s all good. One should not discriminate on the basis of shape!

  16. themiddle

    4/11/2007 at 4:47 pm

    I have just returned from a lunch of Lebanese falafel. I did not order the hummus despite this post because, contrary to the popular misconception that all Middle Eastern restaurant owners know the magic of hummus, these folks simply ruin theirs with buckets of garlic.

  17. Tal-WP

    4/11/2007 at 5:18 pm

    Dear DK, I don’t insist that hummus is a meal instead of an appetizer, I am saying that the hummus you have probably met so far, is not even deserving the title “appetizer”, more like building cement.

    (No offense intended 🙂 )

  18. ck

    4/11/2007 at 5:24 pm

    DK: Quality hummus is in fact a meal. Throw in a couple of falafel balls, or a bed of warm chick peas, maybe even a hard boiled egg and a fresh pita, but either way, it’s a nutritious and satisfying meal.

    But what do you know of such things in the diaspora? Mind you, the hummus place on St. Marks has a reasonable approximation of what we have here. Go there Kelsey. Taste the “dip” of the Gods.

  19. DK

    4/11/2007 at 7:39 pm

    ck, I have had this dip you speak of on St. Marks, and was quite frankly, underwhelmed, in no small part because of a feeling that some people were trying way too hard to make it a cafe (ooooh), and I just don’t have time for that bullshit, okay? i go into B & H Dairy — I get a white fish salad — and I don’t pay for “ambiance” during lunch time. Cause I’m not sophisticated all day every day like you, okay?

    Having said that, I like the Chickpea place just fine, as those Zionists serve on Western time, and are content to offer a kosher (but not glatt, so no haredim, hurray!) lamb sandwich, which I can then have some of your dip added to without all the faux-European shtick.

  20. Stanley Kards

    4/11/2007 at 8:40 pm

    The reason it won’t catch on in the USA, first of all it is a Parve item.

    Also, you can’t imo, flavor it well, it works best as just the basic Chumus, with trimmings of course.

    It has to be marketed to people. You have to tell them what it is. Chickpeas, are not that big in North America. IMO, bec. it is considered, em, to pedestrian. Like a Mexican rest. has to change itself in order to succeed.

    The typical American palate hasn’t changed much from the Burger/Fries.

  21. DK

    4/11/2007 at 8:56 pm

    Okay, I have to admit, Stanley has a point. The Zionists offer much healthier food than American fast food, this is true…

  22. Pingback: David Dworin Online » Blog Archive » What a mess we’re in as a people…

  23. bebe

    4/12/2007 at 12:00 pm

    Oi! Get on the train to Brooklyn- to Borough Park or Atlantic Avenue or Kings Highway and stop complaining already!

  24. Passionate Life

    4/13/2007 at 5:45 am

    HA HA!!! This has to be the most mind-numbing post I have read in quite a while! And you’re calling me annoying? Whats the matter? You didn’t like that I called your fellow poster, Beth, out on her take down of a good decent guy? Can’t find anything to say on the merits of the issue?

    I know this is supposed to be a culturally hip and snarky blog, but this is just plain sad. Can you quote one substantive or remotely interesting sentence in your post? Besides name calling do you actually have anything to say at all?

    Hmmm… What should I write today? “I am annoyed because I wish all the Orthodox bloggers would blow themselves up, but thank G-d for Chumus!” Yeah, that’s brilliant! Let me throw in some Fxxx this and Fxxx that – using expletives will really make me look hip and cool!

    Geez! Are you 12???

    I don’t want to cast aspersions on the IQ level around here but you people are discussing Chumus and apparently having quite the raging and mind-numbing discussion about it.

    Hip and snarky? I think not.

  25. Passionate Life

    4/13/2007 at 5:54 am

    Container of Chumus = $5.00

    Shwarama with Chumus = $10.00

    Pathetic attempt to draw traffic by attacking fellow Jews and bloggers = Worthless.

    How’s that for snarky? 😉

  26. michael

    4/13/2007 at 9:13 am

    Sarcasm is a mouse, and you’re Lenny.

  27. themiddle

    4/13/2007 at 11:13 am

    She’s right, Michael. If only you had her IQ, I’m sure you’d be writing about American Idol instead of God’s second greatest gift to mankind.

  28. Finnish

    4/14/2007 at 12:02 pm

    Those visiting/living in London might do well to visit Hummus Bros. The hummus meal was quite excellent, and do try out the juices too…!

  29. ck

    4/14/2007 at 1:13 pm

    Passionate Life: The last thing we care about or need is more traffic. Now PL, you’re a smart blogger. Can you come up with other reasons why someone might express umbrage at someone else’s writing? I’m worried because your dismissal of Hummus might be indicative of your lack of a soul.

  30. themiddle

    4/14/2007 at 2:47 pm

    Considering the quality of the writing in this post, the dismissal may be more problematic than a lack of a soul.

  31. Dave

    4/14/2007 at 8:53 pm

    I’d just like to say “kol ha-kavod” to Passionate Life, for his blog “gaymythswithlove” website.
    Even though I am not Orthodox, I salute your brave defense of Jewish family values.
    I agree with you 100 percent, Passionate Life.

  32. michael

    4/14/2007 at 9:04 pm

    Maybe you two boys can meet up and debunk gay myths together. With love.

  33. Dave

    4/14/2007 at 9:13 pm

    Ha, ha, very funny, Michael !
    I still believe that heterosexuality is a basic Jewish value, and a Torah commandment.
    And I’m not even Orthodox.

  34. Passionate Life

    4/14/2007 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you Dave for your kind words.

    Isn’t it sad that just by expressing your beliefs in the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and Torah values one is considered a bigot or hateful? Political correctness has reached ridiculous proportions. No one wants to discuss the merits of an issue. Its all about out-shouting each other and name calling.

    Apparently the only politically sanctioned speech permissible that reflects our Jewish beliefs – is how much you love Chumus.

    Sad indeed.

  35. themiddle

    4/15/2007 at 12:14 am

    May God forgive your misspelling of hummus.

  36. ck

    4/15/2007 at 2:33 am

    Oh Passionate Life, no one shouted at you about homosexuality. After reading your gay blog, I don’t think you’re a bigot. I just think you’re a tad misinformed about homosexuality. I mean you liken it to a pathological condition, something like drug abuse and your conclusions flow therefrom. I believe you’re well intentioned, but I think your fundamental premise is wrong, and if I am right, this poses a great challenge. I don’t have all the answers of course, but I have to rely on certain Jewish values to help me deal with the issue – values like compassion and mercy and faith. But, I sure won’t shout you down! And we’re really off topic – we’ve gone from hummus to homosexuality. Oy.

  37. Passionate Life

    4/15/2007 at 3:09 am

    CK,

    You don’t think I am “misinformed” you just disagree with my opinion, which is your right. Misinformed implies that you have information which I am not privy to or I am basing my judgment on false information. I believe I lay out a very strong case for my beliefs backed up with all the current statistics and studies as well as my observations in my professional capacity in social services.

    I am always open to discussion and debate on the issues and any disagreements based on the merits of the issues.

    I did not mean to imply that anyone here shouted me down or called me bigoted rather I meant that it is the general tone when you try and have an honest discussion on this topic.

    I find it very interesting that you should bring up Jewish values in regards to homosexuality. Can’t one believe that a particular behavior is self – destructive and yet have “compassion and mercy and faith” for that person who is struggling with this issue? Isn’t “Jewish values” pretty clear on this issue?

  38. Passionate Life

    4/15/2007 at 3:15 am

    The middle,

    Okay, maybe I’ll give you an extra “m” if you really insist upon it. But I draw the line with the Hanukah’zation of Chanukah or the Haim’ing of Chaim. Come on, cat got your “Chhhhh”???

  39. ck

    4/15/2007 at 3:37 am

    PL: The issue with hummus is that the “ch” sound is really not a hard “ch” like in Chanukah. I mean let’s face it, hummus is a food we adopted from the Lebanese. And the arabic pronunciation is more a kin to a soft “ch” hence the hummus (rather than chummus) spelling amongst aficionados.

    As for homosexuals, ein li koach. Let’s discuss it next time there’s a gay pride parade or something.

  40. Hummus small brother

    4/15/2007 at 3:30 pm

    It appears that the Hummus man (Abu shooky), released an article as a response to some of the discussions going on here.
    The article title is:
    “The primitive American hummus culture”
    at:
    http://humus101.com/EN/2007/04/14/the-primitive-american-hummus-culture/

    It says in short:
    “And sure, you can dip carrots in it [hummus] – but you can dip them in a soup as well. This doesn‘t make hummus a dip. It’s not a side dish – it’s the main course people!”

    My point exactly…

  41. Steph

    4/24/2007 at 6:16 am

    P-Life,
    I seem to recall expressing an opinion on your blog and being “maligned” as being “out of my mind”. Is that the response of someone who values “open discussion and debate” and criticizes online “out-shouting and name-calling”?
    Based on your most recent post, you seem to object to being the subject but have no problem being the perpetrator.

  42. Amishav

    4/24/2007 at 12:23 pm

    Its interesting that your article mentions the destruction of the Jewish people as a result of our own infighting. Certainly that’s a powerful lesson of history.

    You have a good forum and apparently a large number of readers- why not use that energy to drown out some of the truly evil garbage that shows up on the internet instead of attacking genuinely decent people like P-Life? baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com does that- and while I don’t have the stomach for that sort of fight, it doesn’t seem to bother you.
    I’d be more vociferious in my comments but at this point I’m going to heed advice I heard long ago- “don’t feed the trolls,” …any more than you have to.

  43. Passionate Life

    4/24/2007 at 2:53 pm

    Steph,

    I wrote that you must be out of your mind in response to you writing “I have never read anything so distasteful as this post.” Because I wrote about other subjects and not about the tragedy at VT.

    I think that was a legitimate rap on your knuckles for trying to politically correct my blog to a bizarre level.

    I don’t attack people or call them names when they disagree with me or have civil discussions. You can look through my archives and I rarely, if ever, stoop to name calling. At most in the heat of the moment I might rap someone slightly on the knuckles if it is justified. (If not I will apologize.)

  44. Passionate Life

    4/24/2007 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks Amishav,

    I really like the, “don’t feed the trolls” line. I suppose if you were to feed them around here Hummus would go over really well. 😉

  45. themiddle

    4/24/2007 at 3:34 pm

    Very fine spelling of hummus, Passionate Life. Although there’s no need to capitalize.

  46. Passionate Life

    4/24/2007 at 3:40 pm

    Hey, you got to do it like the natives.

    Minhag Hamokem and all. 😉

  47. themiddle

    4/24/2007 at 4:55 pm

    (hamakom) 😉

  48. Chutzpah

    4/24/2007 at 4:56 pm

    Just to let you all know how I my hummus adventures are going…I soaked dry chickpeas and followed all Michael’s instructions. It came out good (but certainly not orgasmic like hot fudge), and produced enough to feed the entire Israeli army. My kids won’t go near the stuff. The crusty food processor bowl is waiting in the sink until next Friday when ny Polish cleaning comes to do the shit work around my house that I refuse to do. (My revenge for the Holocaust). I didn’t meet my soulmate in the hippy aisle of Acme and they did not have Tehina Golmit. I used dark toasted sesame oil instead. I will venture into the Kosher Supermarket in town to get some, but that puts me at risk of running into some local yenta Stepford wives who will bombard me with questions like “are you dating? are you working? I heard your ex-remarried. do you want to come for shabbos?” To which the answers are “no. yes. yes. no”respectively.
    I’m not up to hand-peeling chickpeas yet and I don’t know what the hell to do with the 3 tupperware containers I have left of this stuff.

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