The Holy Hummus


After spending 2 weeks in the Holy Land, only one thing is for certain: if something can compete with dipping french fries into buffalo sauce and ranch, it is dipping pita into hummus and tahini.

While Israel (my experience, at least) doesn’t offer the variety we are used to here, what they do, they do right.

Top 5 Holy Land Food Facts

1) It is healthier – instead of sausage and bacon with breakfast, there is cucumber and tomato salad. Instead of french fries and onion rings, there is hummus and pita.

2) Hummus comes with everything – literally. I had hummus with 26 straight meals, and the amazing part is I never got sick of it. In fact, I had to create a word to describe it: omnidip. Anything can be dipped into it, and consequently, improving that bite, including: chicken, potatoes, pita and vegetables. It’s the Israeli version of cheese.

3) Balance – nice balance of meat, vegetables, salad, soup and dessert. Always a hearty meal and never overdoing any of it. Problem is, many meals offer the same meat (chicken, lamb, tongue), vegetables (broccoli, green beans), potatoes (almost always broiled), and well, of course, hummus.

4) When you order salad, there is a 50/50 chance you get 30 small plates of Israeli tapas. When asked if I wanted to start with a salad in a restaurant in Jaffa, naturally, I said yes. Fifteen seconds later, there were 30 small plates of tapas style appetizers, including: hummus and pita (obviously), tomato and cucumber salad, coleslaw, mushroom and onions, beef and red sauce…

5) Lastly and most importantly – all sodas come in the small glass bottles. I don’t know why, but these always taste better. Feels like it’s the way soda was meant to be served. In the same way that wings taste natural in a plastic basket next to a cheap pitcher of beer, Coke simply tastes purer in a small glass bottle. Like death and taxes, it is a rare certainty in our world.

To pay homage to Paul Pierce’s ability to embrace the over dramatic, I’ll be reviewing a mediocre restaurant and offering nothing less than dramatic hyperbole to describe such delicacies as free bread.

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  • JoeHoya June 9, 2008  

    Never been to Israel or the Middle East, but if they’ve got pita and hummus in abundance I may have to make a trip.

    As for the better-tasting Coke conundrum, it probably tastes purer because it IS purer. In Israel, as in many other parts of the world, the concentrate that is produced by Coca-Cola is still sweetened with sugar, instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup like it is here. You can read more about it here:

    When Passover rolls around again, keep an eye out for Kosher Coke – it’s made with sugar instead of HFCS, and people STOCK UP on the stuff when it comes out. I’ve never seen it in DC, but it definitely shows up in NYC.

  • BS June 9, 2008  

    Totally agree with the overseas coke thing – it tastes so much better in Europe. I had no idea, though, that the Kosher Coke was made from the real deal! Will def be picking up some of that around the next holidays.

  • gansie June 9, 2008  

    best coke – coke out of the can

  • 80 Proof June 9, 2008  

    totally agree on coke with sugar tasting better. But in the US, the bottle is still the way to go.

    1) bottle
    2) well-mixed coke from a machine
    3) can
    4) plastic bottle
    5) plastic bottle from convenience store that still allows smoking. The bottle always reeks of smoke when you drink from it.

  • broadandpattison June 9, 2008  

    i hear everyone on the coke thing, but if there is anything i want people to take from my rant, it is “omnidip” – i humbly ask everyone to spread this word to all corners of the globe and in doing so, make it your own. in fact, i consider it more of a lifestyle than a word.

  • JoeHoya June 10, 2008  

    You’ve convinced me, B&P. Henceforth shall I refer to hummus as ‘omnidip.’

    I’ll just have to tell those marketing guys from Skoal that they’re S.O.L.

  • DAD GANSIE June 11, 2008  

    hell gansie bottle was the original…you’re right 80 p the old coke bottles are neat looking too.

    hummus is fun to make to, thanks to gansie’s recipe

  • Gar July 2, 2008  

    I love hummus too. Who has their favorite recipe? Do you all prefer to make it at home or buy from a restaurant?

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