I didn’t use to buy pre-packaged hummus. Ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I love hummus, but after five years of living in the Middle East, the region spoiled me. It turned me into a hummus addict and a hummus snob. State-side, I find prepackaged hummus to have an off-putting, acidic tinge. The chickpeas are stale, the garlic is strong. In the middle east the chickpeas, tahini, lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic are whipped until the individual components are almost undetectable. You’re less aware of any one ingredient, and the resulting dip is more compelling. Authentic hummus is deceptively simple, and surprisingly hard to come by in America.
Those of us who have tasted the genuine article in its region of origin, are left condemned to make our own, or live with an unrequited longing for this simple salata.
...Or so I thought before I tasted Brothers hummus.
When I moved to LA this past August, I left my food processor in storage. I was new in town and needing a hummus fix, but I couldn't make my own. So when I saw the Brothers Products stand at the Hermosa Beach farmers market, I sampled out of desperation.
And what I tasted brought tears to my eyes. For a brief instant, I was transported to a little stone cafe in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem. I could almost hear the call to prayer.
Emran, the man behind the Brother’s booth, saw that I was moved and began to reminisce. He'd first sampled Brother’s hummus five years earlier and said the taste, “took me back home.” No restaurant or store-bought product compared. “Brothers is the best in LA,” he said. I have to agree.
It’s now been six months since my move to LA. I’ve had my food processor for months, but I haven't yet made one batch of hummus. I don't have to. I get the real deal every week at the Hermosa Beach market.
You can try a sample any Wednesday, from 1pm-6pm on the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza.
Aubrey Yarbrough manages the Playa Vista, Westwood and Hermosa Beach Farmers' Markets for Farmer Mark. Before moving to LA she ran her own organic farm and cooked on the garde manger station at the award winning Elements restaurant in Princeton, NJ. She has contributed to Edible Jersey and her poetry will appear in the forthcoming issue of New American Writing.