New York has long been fascinated with the mashed chickpea dip, reminiscent of the Middle Eastern table, with all the disagreements about who gets to sit at it. But is this fascination dissipating?
Recent hummus-related closures include Dizengoff, celebrity chef Michael Solomonov’s short-lived Chelsea Market venture, Gourmet Food Solutions, the maker of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods staples, and Hoomoos Asli, gone kaput after eighteen years of making New Yorkers pronounce hummus the correct way. There was Hummus Place, once a hummus-selling behemoth, now relegated to a single, minimalist Upper West Side eatery. And on 14th Street, Mimi’s Hummus didn’t make it to 2019, not to mention the Hummus Brothers company, now suffering hummus-related financial problems.
But perhaps something more insidious is at play: Has New York reached maximum hummus capacity?
There’s dessert hummus, which is trending, and perhaps the last gimmicky attempt at keeping hummus a household name. Because hummus is just a dip, and to expect it to shoulder the weight of Arab, Jewish and Middle Eastern identity, while remaining a party staple, seems absurd. Perhaps the time has come to allow some younger, fresher ingenues to take the stage.
If you like hummus, maybe you’ll like mujaddara. Maybe you’ll like sabich, or labneh, or fattoush.
Don’t know what they are? Google them.
Shira Feder is a writer. She’s at firstname.lastname@example.org and @shirafeder