It’s been four semesters since I’ve had home-cooked Turkish (oh, wow, here’s Melisa talking about being Turkish….again) meal, and to be completely honest, at first it was great. There are only so many times I can manage to “enjoy” kale stew (side note: kale translates to “decoration cabbage” in Turkish) and I was infatuated with the copious amounts of coffee and soft-serve ice cream that I was honestly blind.
It’s been four semesters, and the coffee and soft-serve ice cream can no longer make me complacent. As Wesleyan’s local and very vocal Middle Easterner™, there’s a very serious matter that we need to discuss: the “hummus” that is offered at Usdan. It’s time to call it for what it is, and that certainly isn’t fucking hummus.
If you weren’t aware, Usdan offers hummus on the kosher line, oftentimes paired with some sort of panini. See, I was super fucking excited when I saw this, because I didn’t grow up with ranch or cranberry vinaigrette (?), and I wanted to supplement my bland salads with the spread that is responsible for my sanity. And so, wide-eyed first-year me walks onto the kosher line, excited to get a taste of home. Why I thought that this hummus would remotely resemble home considering the general lack of spices in Usdan (seriously, WHY DON’T WE HAVE RED PEPPER FLAKES ANYWHERE? And don’t tell me about that bullshit red pepper that’s by the pizza) is beyond me. I was hopeful that perhaps Bon App got things right for once.
Oh, was I wrong.
Here are some general notes about the hummus that I have succumbed to time and time again at Usdan, in which each time I have considered just transferring to any school in Turkey based exclusively on food:
- THE BASIS OF HUMMUS IS TAHINI. THERE IS THIS WONDERFUL CONCEPT, USDAN, OF TAHINI. Basically, tahini is a sauce made from ground sesame, and it gives the chickpeas flavor. Let’s be honest here, chickpeas on their own aren’t necessarily a gourmet treat. Unless you’re me, where I can eat chickpeas by the spoonful. Tahini adds a *kick* to hummus, and honestly it’s a violation of Middle Eastern conduct if you don’t put tahini in your hummus. Look, let’s just make this simple: you don’t want to mess with Middle Easterners when it comes to our food.
- HUMMUS INHERENTLY MEANS CHICKPEAS.
- Here is a google definition of hummus: “Hummus is a Levantine dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.”
- “Blended in tahini”
- BLENDED IN TAHINI
- LITERALLY THE SIMPLEST PART OF HUMMUS IS THE TAHINI.
- YOU JUST
- PUT IT IN
- THAT’S FUCKING IT
- So the other thing is that “hummus” means chickpeas, right? So why are you trying to advertise snow pea/squash/insert-random-vegetable-that-isn’t-chickpeas-here as hummus? IT’S A FUCKING SPREAD. STOP DEFAMING THE NAME OF HUMMUS. Hummus is chickpeas, not SNOW PEA PUREE. It’s as if you make pizza, except with like, fucking semolina bread as the dough and…I don’t fucking know, pepper sauce rather that tomato sauce. Yeah, sure, it LOOKS ALMOST like pizza, but is it actually pizza????? THE ANSWER IS NO.
- I really don’t understand Americans with garlic; the age of vampires have long gone, thanks to Edward Cullen, and we really don’t need to ward them off with copious amounts of garlic. On a logistical level, after a certain threshold of garlic, you might as well just throw your entire body in a vat of “please avoid my personal bubble until I found some mouthwash.” So, I ask you, Usdan Hummus™, why must you be laced with the ultimate hookup breaker garlic-levels-of-garlic. I hope you realize that a little amount of garlic goes a long way. Like, a loooooooonnnng way.
- I think the general trend is that Usdan Hummus™ doesn’t know what proportions are. Either we have vampy-breath, or our insides are on its way to ultimate corrosion via the lemon:hummus ratio. Like, this shit isn’t lemonade, and so I shouldn’t be eating what would be the equivalent of lemon spread with a dash of chickpea.
- HUMMUS SHOULD BE SMOOTH. Like, it’s a spread, right? God didn’t intend for hummus to be chunky. If I wanted chunky hummus, I would just eat some whole-ass chickpeas. To further clarify, here’s a testimony from a fellow Wesleyan student: “Hummus at Usdan should not be as smooth as the drunk, white athlete who hits on you at Fountain, smelling like beer and disappointment.” (Icymi: the drunk, white athlete isn’t smooth.)
- There’s this really great concept called salt. Let me introduce you two. Look, it may seem spicy at first, but I promise it will make your life so much better. I’m fully aware that Usdan doesn’t normally spice things (don’t get me started on the rice), but again, if hummus isn’t seasoned, it will taste like…chickpeas, and not the heavenly spread that I have learned to love.
So, here’s the thing. There are a lot of reason why this hummus is upsetting, and I have been in far too many spaces within the last few weeks where I’ve had to physically restrain myself from ranting about this epidemic. Next up, I’ll rant about the vegan “baklava,” which basically has the entire country rolling in their graves, even if they’re not dead.