by oneafrikan on December 15, 2008
Since coming to Israel, I’ve eaten a fair bit of hummus, and I have to say it’s much better than the stuff we get in Londres… and Tahini is even better IMO. I’m really starting to enjoy it ;-)
Here’s some background for your reading pleasure:
_ Hummus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History of the ingredients
Chickpeas and sesame, the crops from which hummus’s main ingredients are taken, were known and cultivated in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds. Chickpeas are hummus’s principal ingredient, and have been a human food item for over 10,000 years. The chickpea was used as a food item in Palestine before 4000 BC, was one of the earliest crops cultivated in Mesopotamia and was a common street dish in ancient Rome; indeed the famous Roman orator, Cicero, was named for an ancestor who had a wart on his nose shaped like a chickpea. Archeological evidence identifies chickpeas in the Sumerian diet before 2500 BC. They are noted in a 13th century work by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Karim al Katab al Baghdadi of Persia for a “simple dish” of meat, pulses and spices. It is unknown whether chickpeas were commonly mashed in any of these cultures. Tahini (sesame paste) likewise lacks any clear historical context. Sesame was grown as a crop in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian gardens and is mentioned by Columella. It was common in Roman and Persian kitchens in the form of sesame oil but not as the tahini paste of hummus-bi-tahini.
Other ingredients are used in sundry recipes of hummus-bi-tahini. The olive originated in Syria and Palestine, where it was being cultivated by the fourth millennium BC. A variety may have been indigenous to Crete, where olives were being cultivated by 2500 BC. The Bible mentions olive oil many times and it was exported from Palestine to places such as Egypt. Several Roman writers indicate that salt was used in extracting the oil. Garlic was grown in the gardens of King Merodach-Baladan II of Babylon and probably was in Greece by the early Bronze Age. The lemon was last to arrive in the Middle East and Mediterranean world, originating in India. However, depictions of lemons have been found at Pompeii and Tusculum, so this fruit must have reached the Roman world, at least as a luxury import, by the first century.
Thanks Shmulik, Nimrod and Nils!