Hummus has been a historically divisive food, causing rifts between nations that have occasionally escalated into all-out wars. I’m not here to start a fight about who made it first or best, though. Today, I’d like to shine a light on how it can be just as powerfully unifying in the right hands. Pardon the pun, but it’s true; everyone just needs to give peas a chance.
Years ago when my dad took up residence overseas for his job, I thought for sure that this was the beginning of the end. What family could withstand such severe, prolonged separation? This was before the age of COVID quarantines of course, but still, it was hard to imagine how any relationship could survive the prolonged distance.
Before we had Zoom, we had Skype. Like clockwork, every weekend, I somehow convinced my omnivorous father to cook with me, creating a recipe simultaneously yet separately. I would make mine for lunch in Connecticut, while he would enjoy his for dinner in Germany. There were a few memorable gems that he still makes today, which is truly a feat for a man of few favorite foods and little interest in cooking. If I had to pick one single greatest hit, it would have to be hummus.
Both of us ate hummus by the gallon at the time, yet he had never so much as considered going straight to the source and starting from scratch. Now, years later, both of us are so thoroughly spoiled by homemade hummus that it’s become impossible to go back to store-bought. Just like that, one simple recipe brought us back together, in our isolated kitchens divided by thousands of miles and a number of time zones.
Recreating this basic bean dip together for the first time as an early Father’s Day celebration was probably more of a treat for me than him. Seeing how he took that essential formula and made it his own was even more gratifying than the rich, savory, and creamy taste.
Adding vegan chicken bouillon for an additional depth of flavor and all the salt it needs, he adds volumes of flavor with this concentrated umami bomb. From there, he adds a splash of liquid smoke to give the creamy mixture an uncanny baba ganoush character, without fussing with any roasted eggplant. A bare hint of spice creeps in on the back end, providing a subtle warmth that lingers after every bite. It’s a brilliant, harmonious combination that’s both simple on paper, yet stunningly complex on the palate.
To all the fathers and people who love them, Happy Father’s Day. I hope you’re all so lucky to have someone to make hummus with, virtually or in-person.