The Jew And The Carrot

Sabra Pushes for Hummus 'Standards' Law

By JTA

Sabra, the popular U.S. hummus company, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to create a standard for which dips are considered hummus.

Sabra would like hummus to be defined as “the semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated, or dried chickpeas and tahini with one or more optional ingredients,” according to a news release Monday.

Sabra’s 11-page proposed standards would require products called hummus to be predominantly made of chickpeas, with no more than 5 percent tahini.

According to the news release, similar standards exist for other condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

“As the popularity of hummus has soared in the United States over the past decade, the name has been applied to items consisting primarily of other ingredients,” Sabra chief technology officer Tulin Tuzel said in the statement. “From black beans and white beans to lentils, soybeans, and navy beans, everyone wants to call their dip ‘hummus.’“

However, Sabra itself sells a variety of hummus “flavors” that would be unrecognizable to most Israelis like “guacamole hummus” and “edamame hummus.”

No word yet on whether Sabra’s proposed law would impact their own products.

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4 Things Sabra Teaches Us About Hummus

By Anne Cohen

Thursday May 15 is National Hummus Day. If you’ve been paying attention to Jewish food trends, you might also be aware that 2014 has been declared “The Year of the Hummus.”

That’s a lot of chickpeas.

To celebrate, Sabra (the official dips sponsor to the NFL!) has written a (not-so) handy guide to teach hummus philistines about Israel’s national dip. Here are just some of the things we learned from “Hummus for Dummies”:

1. How to pronounce “hummus”

Do you end in Oos, in Iss, in Uss? According to “Hummus for Dummies,” hummus is a “fun word,” yet difficult to pronounce. Pretty straightforward so far. Then it gets weird:

Some people will tell you that it starts with a “choo” sound made toward the back of your throat (less “choo-choo train” — more “achtung baby”).

If in doubt, you can always just call it “yummus.”

2. Hummus can be fruity

We are told that hummus is a “rich, smooth, creamy dip” made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, spices, oils, vegetables — and fruits? Mango in your hummus, really?

If that’s not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, the guide also offers recipes for hummus-based desserts like “Chocolate Hummus Truffles,” and “Chocolate, Coconut and Caramel Hummus Pastries.”

3. “Chickpeas are sometimes confused with nuts.”

Are they? Why? A section called “Browsing through interesting hummus facts” explains that because you can roast and season chickpeas, innocent bystanders could taste the crunchy — and yes, granted — slightly nutty legume and get confused. So once again, just in case you missed that class: Chickpeas are not nuts.

4. Hummus “loves you back.”

Any fan of the veggie-tray can tell you that it’s the dip that packs on the pounds. But now, you can enjoy those fresh carrot and celery sticks the way God intended you to — ”hummus can be the fresh flavorful answer to the prayers at the center of your vegetable tray.” Glad we cleared that one up.

Just kidding Sabra. We love hummus too.

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Can Sabra Prevent a Hummus Crisis?

By Anna Goldenberg

Hummus might be a constant presence in many Jewish household fridges, but the delicious chickpea dip still has a long way to go to gain nationwide popularity.

Eighty million Americans, or a quarter of the population, have never heard of the Middle Eastern snack, Sabra, the biggest US producer, recently told Fast Company. According to data from the market research company IRI, only 26% of households eat hummus regularly.

To help address the hummus crisis, Sabra has started dispatching trucks loaded with hummus to those poor cities living in the hummus desert. In April, the trucks will stop in Orlando, FL, San Diego and Austin to preach the hummus gospel — oh, and give out samples.

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Why I Do Not Buy Hummus

By Rebecca Rendsburg

wikimedia

I have been making hummus from scratch for nearly 10 years now. I don’t think it’s a big deal — it’s the easiest thing to make — but nearly everyone I talk to who knows this is shocked. How do I do it? When do I find the time? Isn’t it labor intensive? Why would I make my own when I could just buy Sabra? y answer: It’s not time consuming, it’s not labor intensive, and Sabra sucks.

There, I’ve said it. I eat Sabra hummus when it’s the only stuff available (the other stuff is just goyishe bean-dip as far as I’m concerned) but I otherwise find it revolting. Why? Because it tastes manufactured. It’s the heavy overtone of preservatives and acidity that ruins an otherwise half-way decent product. I know my preference flies in the face of many an American Jew (particularly on the East Coast — I forgive the West Coasters because I know there isn’t much out there in the first place — except in L.A. and then you have no excuse) but I stand by it. It’s better if you make it yourself. It’s fresher, it’s creamier, and it’s more flavorful.

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Can Football Make Hummus Macho?

By Haaretz/Alison Kaplan Sommer

Some sports and food groups in the United States are easily associated with one another. Baseball and hot dogs clearly go together, for example. That’s easy.

But what about football? Tailgating parties, where people hold picnics out of the back of the car before a big game, may be an integral part of the football ritual in the United States (we’re talking about American football, of course) but one wouldn’t say that there is a specific dish that one immediately thinks of as official football food.

But let’s try to imagine such a thing for a moment. You’ve packed up the car, you pull out the picnic cooler to start laying out the pre-football-game spread, and you reach your hand inside and pull out a big container of all-American … hummus?

Sounds bizarre and jarring, but it’s now official. The National Football League has signed a deal with Sabra Dipping Co. that will make Sabra brand hummus the “official dip” of the league.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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In Virginia, It's Out With Tobacco in With Hummus

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Move over tobacco, it’s time for chickpeas to shine.

It’s increasingly looking like Virginia’s tobacco-farming country may soon be known as hummus country, thanks to Sabra Dipping Company.

This week, the company famous for its plastic pots filled with hummus, matbucha, and other Middle Eastern salads and spreads opened an $86 million research and development center, dubbed the Center of Excellence, near Richmond.

According to Haaretz, the Center is “devoted to the science, production, engineering, packaging and delivery of the chickpea-based spread.”

Sabra is also prodding farmers in the area around the center to replace their tobacco crops with chickpeas, says the Wall Street Journal.

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Hummus Colonization: Now at Your Supermarket!

By Hannah Rubin

Hannah Rubin

And so, Hummus Week at the Forward comes to a close. One week, fifteen tasters, and thirty-two different hummuses.

On our score sheet for our Wacky Flavor Day, we included what might have seemed like a straightforward question: “does it taste like hummus?” However, many testers understandably asked for clarification about the terms defining just exactly what hummus is. Just tasting all the various Israeli-style hummuses made in New York restaurant kitchens proved to me how diverse the flavors of chickpeas, sesame seeds, lemon, olive oil and garlic can be. Of course, this is all not to mention regional and national differences in hummus — for this project, we focused strictly on Israeli-style hummus.

Syria to Lebanon, Greece to Egypt — each Middle Eastern country not only uses their own individual hummus recipe, but also claims absolute ownership over the chickpea treat. In fact, the Lebanese Industrialists Association has consistently petitioned the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade to request protected status from the European Commission over hummus, and to declare it a uniquely Lebanese food, a trademark comparable to Italian “parmigiano reggiano” or French champagne.

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Hummus Week: The Best Original-Style Hummus

By Hannah Rubin

It seems, hummus is everywhere — and in every flavor. Even an innocuous trip to the corner deli leaves one dumbfounded.

Sabra boasts of 19 different flavors, with more on the way. Tribe follows with a close 16. Trader Joe’s, which sells an extensive line of house-brand hummus, offers three different versions of the original flavor, a hummus ground with edamame, and a special three layer hummus dip with cilantro jalapeno hummus and spicy hummus layered over the original.

Louis Fellman, the founder and owner of Abraham’s Natural Foods explains the hummus flavor boom as a relatively new phenomenon. According to Fellman, who has been making and selling hummus since 1985, the question he used to ask, “do you like hummus,” has morphed into, “which hummus do you like?”

On a recent evening at my local market — with $5 in my pocket, and eyes bigger than my stomach — I stopped in the hummus aisle to pick up a tub for the next-day’s lunch. I always go for my favorite: Sabra with Pine Nuts. But, as I reached past the five shelves stocked with hundreds of red-topped hummus tubs, my stomach and eyes began flitting excitedly through all the various labels. Luscious Lemon? Spinach Artichoke? Basil Pesto? And what about these small tubs of Abraham’s hummus that I see innocently sitting on the next shelf over? Could these be worthy of a spot in my refrigerator?

And so the idea for The Great Hummus Taste Test was born. I gathered together a diverse panel of Forward and Hazon staff to taste their way through 32 different varieties of hummus, all in the quest to determine which of these chickpea tubs were worth scarfing down on a nice carrot-filled summer evening.

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Mixing Bowl: The State of the Bagel, a Day With Alice Waters, G-20's Food Decision

By Devra Ferst

iStock

As much of New York City mourned the closing of the Upper West Side location of H&H bagels, the quintessential New York bagel shop, the City Room took a look at the state of the bagel in 2011. Check out what critic Mimi Sheraton had to say.

Joan Nathan profiles David Tanis the newest New York Times dining columnist, author of “Heart of the Artichoke” and Chez Panisse chef on Tablet.

Have you ever wondered how the queen of the locavore movement Alice Waters spends her days? The Wall Street Journal follows her for a full 24 hours reporting that she barely sits down, except to enjoy a meal.

The G-20 “agreed to establish a transparent system to track global supplies and set up emergency food reserves” to help stabilize global food prices around the globe says the AP.

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