Hummus Deserves Its Own Day
This popular chickpea purée of Middle Eastern origins has earned a place on American tables
Hummus, that familiar, irresistible purée of boiled chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and usually tahina (sesame paste, also known as tahini), is eaten all over the Middle East and parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, and has in recent years become an extremely popular addition to dinner tables and snack menus around the United States. Its exact origins are a bit mysterious, though recipes for a similar chickpea preparation have been dated back to 13th-century Egypt. What isn't at all mysterious, though, is that the largest producer of hummus in the world today is Sabra Dipping Company LLC, founded in Queens in 1986 and today co-owned by the Israel-based Strauss Group Ltd. and Pepsico.
The food-lover's calendar is filled with quasi-official "Days" devoted to various foodstuffs, certain of them with general appeal (Pie Day, Hamburger Day) and others strangely specific (Applesauce Cake Day, Brandied Fruit Day). Some of these are decreed by various trade organizations, but most have apparently been made up by, well, somebody, just for fun. Considering Sabra's preeminence in the field, however, when they announce that today is National Hummus Day, we take their word for it. Hummus Day has been celebrated previously, on various dates, but it wasn’t until 2013 that Sabra stepped in to brand it. Now, says Sabra Director of Marketing Greg Greene, "It's the third Thursday in May every year. Starting last year."
In honor of the occasion, Sabra (whose regular hummus, by the way, placed first in our blind tasting of commercial hummus earlier this year) is distributing a print and e-book called Hummus for Dummies, and sending hummus-themed food trucks out into about 30 cities around America through mid-November. Besides dispensing free hummus, the trucks will distribute print copies of Hummus for Dummies; it is also available on Facebook.
For more on Sabra's National Hummus Day and information on social media promotions around the "holiday", see Sabra's website.
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