May 15, 2013

Hummus. And chocolate.



You know how ‘the news’ isn’t ‘the news’ but ‘the BAD news’?

Every now and then something slips by the radar—it’s newsworthy and it’s not bad.  It may even be good.

I love this.  Virginia tobacco farmers, floundering in the dropping demand for tobacco, are planting chickpeas instead.  Because hummus is booming.


I of course have been eating hummus for decades.  I’d’ve said all us old original-Moosewood-Cookbook** hippies and freaks and navy-blue-suit wearing secret counterculturists ate hummus.***

But I do want to draw your attention to hummus chocolate cake.  I’ve got a recipe for it myself somewhere but I couldn’t find it and I had to go bell ringing†.  There are several of them out there in internetland†† but they seem nearly identical and epicurious is usually pretty reliable:

This looks like mine—the four eggs and two teaspoons of vanilla are right.  I may use more cocoa.  It’s a safe bet that I usually use more cocoa.  But the cake is lovely.  Really.  It’s chiefly the tahini that gives what you think of as the hummus flavour to, um, hummus.  Hummus chocolate cake is just very, very dense and moist and filling and scrummy and excellent.  It’s also dairy and gluten free and doesn’t taste like a lot of the contents of those grim ‘without’ shelves at the supermarket.†††  You can even fool yourself that it’s good for you.

* * *

* I am also going to risk being heinously politically incorrect and say that given America’s^ relations with the Middle East I can’t help but feel that enthusiastically adopting even a mere humble foodstuff can’t hurt.  They’re people like us, you know?  They eat.  And eating together is usually bonding too.

^ And most of the western first world’s

** Which is out of print.  The new one is all low fat.  Feh.

I’ve got so many physical issues it’s not frelling funny.  My intolerances are intolerant of my other intolerances.  But one thing this body has always got right is its cholesterol levels—even back in my heavy dairy, if-it-stands-still-long-enough-put-butter-on-it days, I had low Bad Cholesterol and high Good Cholesterol.^  So everyone moaning about Katzen’s high-fat recipes I was like, What?^^  I remember reading an interview with Katzen I think around the time that the new revised not-so-much-fat edition came out, saying (as my flaky memory recalls it) that she was a little embarrassed at the way she’d trowelled on the dairy and the oil and so on but that she’d been publishing a vegetarian cookbook at a time when vegetarian food was perceived as feeble and weedy and listless and she wanted to present it as able to duke it out with steak and chops.  And it does, unless you have the kind of politically incorrect metabolism that DEMANDS MEAT, which mine does.  Oops.  But I don’t have to have it every day.  And my original MOOSEWOOD and ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST cookbooks have a lot of pages stuck together and a lot of notes in the margins.

^ I must have told you this story:  when I first had ME, and my NHS doctor had grandly declared that she didn’t believe in ME—thanks ever so, lady—I went briefly to a private doc recommended by another ME sufferer.  He had, he said, found himself making a speciality of it simply because he saw so much of it.  I couldn’t afford him for long but he got me started taking care of myself and was very encouraging even when I told him I had to pack as much in as possible in as few appointments as possible.  One of the things he did was have my blood tested for seven single-spaced pages of stuff.   The ‘normal’ ranges for most things are wide enough you have to be a doctor to find any of the readings suggestive, but anything that counted officially as abnormal was marked by a big band of colour, like a giant highlighter.  My cholesterol levels were highlighted.  NOOOOOOOO.  CHOLESTEROL IS THE THING I DO RIGHT.  No, no, said the doctor.  The lab doesn’t differentiate between good abnormal and bad abnormal.  Your bad cholesterol is abnormally low, and your good cholesterol is abnormally high.

Oh.  ::Beams::  Pity about the ME though . . .

^^ I also have another of my crunchy-granola, geeky health-nutter fringe rants about the fact that fat is good for you.  The super-low-fat thing is BAD.  And margarine is not fat, okay?  Margarine is evil.  Greasy evil.  What they do to it to make it solid is far worse than butter ever was or could be unless you injected it with curare or something first.+

+ I think one of the fashions for eggs as good for you is current too.  Yawn.  Yes.  They’re good for you even when they’re out of fashion, unless you’re allergic to them.  I eat a lot of eggs.

*** My hummus is actually not Katzen’s.  I was indeed faintly superior and ho-hum^ when Moosewood came out.  It wasn’t going to have anything to teach me and what’s with the twee hand lettering?  I think one of my long-ironed-hair, tie-dyed-skirt-wearing friends gave me a copy^^ and when I still had more than twelve calories a day available I was a sucker for a good cookbook.

^ I have never claimed to be a nice person, and I was worse when I was younger

^^ Tie-dye took a long time to go away.  AND IT CAME BACK.  AAAAAAAAUGH.  Barring a pink tie-dye t shirt that a friend and her kids made me a few years ago+ that I am very fond of, I have the same feeling about tie-dye that I do about bell bottoms.  AAAAAAAAAAAUGH.  AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH.  And don’t come near me with shag carpeting or Austin Powers either.

+ It’s colour proof and everything.  You can put it through the washing machine.  They make home-hand-dyeing colour a lot better than they used to.

† I RANG THREE TIMES TONIGHT.  YAAAAAAAY.  It was almost like being a real person.

†† Along with a lot of suggestions for straight hummus-chocolate mousse-like-substance or frosting or cookies which I will leave you to discover for yourselves although if you’re asking me all those involving things like Nutella are impure.

††† Personally I think chocolate-covered rice cakes are a sin against nature.


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