Flavour origin: Ancient Egypt....?
Hummus is one of the most popular Middle Eastern appetizers in the world. But do you know who was the first to make it?
It is a traditional dish in countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Greece, Syria, and Turkey, each of which claims to be its true cradle. What should be clear is that he is not Greek. It is very difficult to find out the real origin of a thousand-year-old recipe that also has numerous variants, but if we stick to written sources, it seems that the first mention appears in an Egyptian recipe book from the 13th century and its preparation was very different from the current one, served in small portions on a piece of bread.
From the Lebanese to the Turks to the Syrians they have tried to claim authorship, but there is not much evidence to support either theory.
Most of the ingredients have been around for centuries: Chickpea dates back more than 10,000 years in Turkey and, according to Anissa Helou, a Syrian-Lebanese writer of several Middle Eastern cookbooks, "it is one of the earliest cultivated legumes." Tahini, essential for making b’tahini hummus, is mentioned in Arab cookbooks from the 13th century. But the combination of ingredients that make up the popular dish is more difficult to pin down.
"The oldest recipe I've seen for hummus that includes tahini comes from an Egyptian cookbook," said historian Ari Ariel, who teaches history and international studies at the University of Iowa. The 13th century Cairo cookbooks describe a dish made from pureed cold chickpeas, vinegar, lemon, herbs and spices. Many claim that it is the hummus we enjoy today, but a fundamental ingredient is missing. Is it fair to consider those hummus b’tahini recipes if there is no tahini or garlic?
Hummus has conquered the world with its simplicity and flavor. Perhaps the discussion about its origin will never disappear, just as it will not disappear from our tables either.