Humus is a sort of paste, a spread, that comes in a variety of delicate colors ranging from brown through golden yellow to whipped white . But it gives the impression that it never managed to gain the hearts (mouths, stomachs, minds, souls) of so many people.
This story is surprising in that it is very old on the one hand and nobody gave it any serious thought, despite it being one of the most serious and important stories ever. For the last ten years or so it has been the most serious culinary subject in Israel. Threateningly serious.
Something that can break up homes and send people off on research trips, hungry as they may be, to the far corners of this small country.
In all seriousness (limited of course) there is no better place in the Middle East to eat humus (in all its forms) than in Jaffa.
Humus is the bond between Arabs and Jews, between Zionists and Palestinians and constitutes the true infrastructure on which (if and when) true peace will rein from the Euphrates to the Nile. Evidence of this can be found in the Arab language advertisements in the commercial channels of the Israeli media, beamed to a Hebrew speaking audience. One of the advertisements tells of a national Israeli dish of Arab quality. Can we hope?
Humus is indeed ready to adopt the peace role in the Middle East, since to a great extent humus is at the root of human culture, and it is no wonder that an increasing number of people are becoming addicted to it.
It may seem too big a job for this lentil that is less than a half centimeter in size,
but if one recognizes its ability one discovers that it can make nitrogen available. So why is this important (for us and the animal and vegetable kingdoms)? It just so happens that nitrogen is one of the bases of amino acids which are themselves the base of protein, and protein is of course the base of everything.
Were we not to have sources for protein from the animal kingdom and no decent sources of lentils, we would have a problem. This problem was resolved 11,000 years ago in the Middle East by domesticating the lentil and eating it in all its forms – beans, humus and peas.
In this way farmers like us who decided not to rely on the whims of the skies and the readily available animals to hunt,
decided to push back the desert borders and nurture the dairy herds that provide us with milk without having to expend wasteful energy to turn them into meat.
We survived nicely increasing the chick pea fields with more irrigation brought from the channels of the great rivers into the deserts of the Middle East to create the fertile crescent.
An Israeli researcher, Professor Gideon Ledizanski of the agriculture faculty,
worked for many years to find wild humus (just like the wild wheat discovered by Aaronson),
and he finally came upon it in the first circle whose focus is between Urfa and Diyarbakir in Turkey. That is where it all began.
This is the humus, in all its various tastes and forms that we have been eating for at least 10,000 years. Did culture precede humus or vice versa?
We shall try here to resolve this matter. The domestication of the lentil constitutes the humus and wheat revolution.
Professor Avi Gofer from The Archeology department of Tel Aviv university, refers to the change in attitude towards nature and the integration of the species for the betterment of man. The change in concepts is an argument which is still rife today.
But there is another very important factor : in the chickpeas there is tryptophan. In the domesticated chickpeas there is 3 times as much.
And tryptophan is being synthesized in the brain and create more Serotonin. Serotonin makes us happy. Well done.
The calmness makes us behave socially.
The Humus is the cement that a healthy society is build upon.
As we know all too well in the middle east.
Never have started a war in a place of Humus – these are always islands of happiness and silent devoted cooperation.
The humus grain also has other uses one of which is in the production of falafel (ground and fried humus balls)
. Felafel reigned strong with Israelis until the rise of humus. Felafel is apparently an Egyptian invention, even though the Egyptian Copts, some 2,300 years ago, used beans to make their falafel instead of humus, as they still do today.
So this is the story of in a chick peas.
Humus is the bond between Arabs and Jews, between Zionists and Palestinians and constitutes the true infrastructure on which (if and when) true peace will rein from the Euphrates to the Nile. Lets hope & till then – we can always take a break between fights & go for it.