Mediterranean food is usually chock full of things I don’t like. There’s the overabundance of raw cucumber, the stinky cheese that’s too crumbly to pick out or eat around, and olives out the yin-yang. Thus it should come as no surprise that I was a full-grown adult before I encountered hummus. I’m not a bean person in general, so bean paste didn’t really appeal to me at any garlic concentration. I could try it. I could be polite. I could daintily douse a tiny corner of my pita bread to simulate the motions of someone who actually appreciated cold taupe spackle. But in my heart, I regarded hummus as an unfortunate side-effect of ordering gyros and kebabs.
Then, in one of my many good-sport moments, I tried a sample of Roasted Red Pepper hummus at my local Costco. I can still hear the perfectly pitched “Aaaaaaaah!” from an unseen angel choir as I wondered in astonishment. Chickpeas alone? Sludge! Chickpeas with roasted red peppers? Heaven! I tossed two tubs into my cart and snarfed down half of one as soon as I reached home.
As I was keeping an eye out for sales on my favorite, I noticed an explosion of new flavors on the market. Some featured novel add-ins like jalapenos or basil, but others went so far as to entirely change the base material to black beans, white beans, or even lentils. Intriguing, I thought, but risky. How could I test all these potentially hum-mazing options without getting stuck with a stack of hum-mungous mistakes? What bunch of suckers will try anything as long as it’s free? COWORKERS!
Ever the experimenter, I purchased 6 types of hummus from my local Kroger grocery affiliate, typed up a tally sheet, and set out a spread in the break room. I had hypothesized that simply opening the chip bag would be like chumming for sharks–the frenzy would be instant. After all, hummus is everyone-friendly. We’ve got a vegan, a near vegan, a gluten-free, a diabetic, and a paleo all in one 15-person office! But it turns out one doesn’t really eat hummus so much as graze. Data collection was slow, but steady. You can participate too! Rate the 6 we tried here, and view my seriously scientific findings here.