The first time I heard of hummus was in the early 1970s when my hippy older brother came home from college with a long frizzy beard, a Sucrets tin full of pot and Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet. By the time I was in college, the pages of my Moosewood Cookbook were spattered with tahini. We felt both virtuous and sophisticated, sopping up our hummus with crackers or pita bread.
Then hummus became ubiquitous and, even snazzed up for cocktail parties, boring. Now this ancient Middle Eastern mix of chickpeas, lemon, tahini and olive oil does well by going back to its origins. Hummus Place proudly spotlights the protein-rich garbanzo, especially in its Israeli Hummus Masabacha: made with creamy lemony tahini, the warm hummus is topped with hot chickpeas and a green parsley sauce spiced with paprika and cumin. A moat of olive oil makes the dish so rich that an appetizer
portion ($3.50) satisfies, accompanied by a thick, doughy pita (.75). The sunny yellow walls of Hummus Place are festooned with handcrafted Hamsa, the hand of Miriam in Judaism or of Fatima in Islam. Just as the Hamsa has its origins in Arab and Jewish cultures, so does Hummus. Shalom/Salam!
305 Amsterdam Ave. (betw. 74th and 75th sts)*
*go to www.HummusPlace.com for other New York City locations
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