The Traditional Way To Dress Up A Dollop Of Hummus

Hummus is the delectable spread and dip that has been around for centuries, though it's started to really take off in recent years. Some may still consider it the lesser party dip, but it's still become a ubiquitous food in the modern American culinary landscape.

Nebo Agency points out that hummus became a household name in the United States thanks to Pepsi Co., as they took ownership of the popular brand Sabra in the mid-2000s. Because Sabra had mostly been selling to Israeli and Arab-Americans living in the U.S. before then, Pepsi Co. did everything in its power to spread the gospel of hummus. It sent out more than two million samples between 2008 and 2010 and helped turn hummus into the cross-cultural hit that it is today.

If you're one of those who have only recently experienced hummus, you might be surprised to find out that hummus is rarely served alone. According to The Guardian, while there are tons of ways to enjoy hummus such as a dip, spread, side, or appetizer. Moreover, the dip is almost never served without any adornments. In the Arab cultures that first enjoyed hummus, it was always dressed up with some other ingredient or topping to take a great hummus to the next level.

History of hummus

When it comes to learning how to properly serve or garnish any dish, conventional wisdom is to look to its creators. That's a far more complicated story for hummus though. According to BBC Travel, countries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions have claimed to be the inventors of the dish. It's become such a point of cultural pride that Israel and Lebanon had a friendly battle of one-upmanship to see who could make the biggest bowl of hummus.

Inside Trader Joe's episode on hummus points out that the word hummus is actually the Arabic name for chickpeas. Chickpeas themselves even have Arabic origins where they were likely the first cultivated legume in the fertile crescent.

While we can't know for certain who first invented the delectable spread, Food Republic claims that the first documented reference to hummus comes to us from Egypt in the 13th century. It's likely though that it was being enjoyed long before this instance, and was almost always dressed up with some extra delicious additions.

How to dress up your hummus

If you're already hummus obsessed then you know that this delectable spread doesn't need a lot to make it shine. According to the Inside Trader Joe's Podcast, one of the most traditional ways to serve hummus is with a finish of high-quality olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, and some extra garbanzo beans for a bit of a crunch.

This tip comes courtesy of a hummus manufacturer named Sam who says that this was his grandma's favorite traditional way to serve up hummus. The Guardian claims that this style of presentation is also common in Jerusalem where it is referred to as "masabacha"

In a separate article, The Guardian states that serving temperature is important. Plenty of people might take their hummus straight from the fridge and help themselves, but it's supposed to be served at room temperature. Enjoying hummus at room temperature might negatively impact the texture of the spread, but it allows the many savory flavors of the dish to shine through. If you're taking the time to dress up your hummus, then you might as well make the most of those flavors and serve them at the right temperature.