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About this food


Hummus is a Levantine Arab dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is a popular food throughout the Middle East.

Chickpeas and sesame, the crops from which hummus's main ingredients are taken, were known and cultivated in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds. Chickpeas are hummus's principal ingredient, and have been a human food item for over 10,000 years. The chickpea was used as a food item in Palestine before 4000 BC, was one of the earliest crops cultivated in Mesopotamia and was a common street dish in ancient Rome; indeed the famous Roman orator, Cicero, was named for an ancestor who had a wart on his nose shaped like a chickpea. Archeological evidence identifies chickpeas in the Sumerian diet before 2500 BC. They are noted in a 13th century work by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi of Persia for a "simple dish" of meat, pulses and spices. It is unknown whether chickpeas were commonly mashed in any of these cultures. Tahini (sesame paste) likewise lacks any clear historical context. Sesame was grown as a crop in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian gardens and is mentioned by Columella. It was common in Roman and Persian kitchens in the form of sesame oil but not as the tahini paste of hummus-bi-tahini.

Other ingredients are used in sundry recipes of hummus-bi-tahini. The olive originated in Syria and Palestine, where it was being cultivated by the fourth millennium BC. A ...
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