Friday, June 18, 2010

The Americanization of Hummus


“BACK home, they would shoot me in the head for doing this to hummus,” Majdi Wadi said as he waited to board a flight to Los Angeles, where he would meet with Costco executives to pitch his company’s roster of 14 flavored hummus varieties, including artichoke-garlic and spinach.

By “home,” Mr. Wadi meant Kuwait, where he was born, and Jordan, from which he immigrated in 1994, places where hummus is usually a purée of chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon, garlic and not much else...

...In 2000, Holy Land introduced hummus flecked with jalapeño. More recently, the company, which makes about 100,000 plastic tubs of hummus each month for the Midwest market, rolled out guacamole-flavored hummus. By August, its blend of hummus and peanut butter will hit the shelves. “That one is for my daughter, Noor,” Mr. Wadi said. “She didn’t think she liked hummus. Then we stirred in peanut butter.”

Other companies are also taking liberties with hummus. In Somersworth, N.H., the Crazy Camel company makes six varieties of dessert hummus, including a blend of chickpeas and cocoa it calls chocolate mousse hummus. In North Carolina, Good Health Natural Foods of Greensboro makes Humbles baked hummus chips in four flavors, including one with feta.

A Denver company, using the Spanish term for chickpea, is selling Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill franchises, which feature hummus dishes ready to be accessorized with cilantro and green chili sauces...

...“Everything is possible,” Mr. Wadi said, just before boarding his flight to California. “Through hummus, we can achieve so much.”

You want hummus, good hummus?


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