Sunday, September 16, 2007
A Post About Hummus
Generally I try to avoid foodie posts, since I believe there are so many in the blogosphere--but then, there's probably a reason for that. People are interested in food, at least their own, and sometimes the compulsion strikes. Also, in my case, few other exciting things are happening, so...
I believe I might have mentioned in the past my love for Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus. I like it better than my own hummus—I think mostly because of the kick. I first started closely inspecting the label in the hopes of seeing what the spices were, so that I might add them to my own recipe. Sabra, despite the fact that the spices rest atop the hummus as almost a separate entity, is tightlipped about their exact composition, preferring to refer to them on the nutrition label as “seasonings and spices.”
Once my eye was drawn to the label however, I could not help but notice that the oils used were not olive, which I tend to be prejudiced toward, but “soybean and/or canola oil.” Plus, I never really trust the “and/or” in labeling….They make thousands of containers of this hummus…don’t they know? And finally, the fat content of one ounce of Supremely Spicy Hummus was 6 grams. Not terrible, but for me, eating a serving size of one ounce of hummus is about as likely as eating just four potato chips. I decided to take a store-bought hummus hiatus.
Recently however, a combination of new job, laziness and the fact that a neighbor currently has our food processor has recently sent me back to store-bought hummus. The first day I went shopping for lunch fixings I was drawn to the Sabra case, but brought up short by the Athenos brand on sale 2 for $4.00. Generally Athenos is a little bland for my taste, but I let my eye wander and Hmm, what’s this? saw something new. Spice Three Pepper Hummus, with “Pure Olive Oil and Spicy Three Peppers.” I checked the label…only 3 grams of fat. I threw it in the cart.
The three pepper hummus was pretty good—not as creamy, which I expected, because it’s not as fatty—but good. As I ate, I looked at the label to revel once again in my cleverness. Reading past the comforting whole foods of chickpeas, olive oil, red, green and jalepeno peppers, I arrive at the last few ingredients…the ones behind the words “less than 1 percent of.” My personal opinion is, that any time a product specifically states “less than 1 percent,” it means that at least one of the ingredients they are about to list is just plain bad for you. In the case of Spice Three Pepper Hummus, that ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Why, I wondered—would that be? Why does a plainly savory concoction of chickpeas and oil need sweetening? The answer I found from doing some research, is probably that along with sweetening, HFCS increases shelf life, reduces freezer burn, and makes items a little softer and more pliable. All good for the manufacturer…but not so good for the consumer. If you want to read more about the evils of the corn syrup conspiracy, you might want to look here, or here, or here or here.
Just on principal I decided to go fat over fructose, a week later I returned to the Sabra Hummus case, only to find that every flavor was sold out, except Jalepeno Hummus. Really? Ugh, I thought.
But the clock was a ticking, and I didn’t have any other great lunch time ideas, so I picked one up and took it home.
Sabra Jalepeno Hummus is my new favorite hummus. For some reason, it has only five grams of fat, dropping one from the Spicy Hummus, and the taste is cleaner. When I get my food processor back I’m going to try to make it myself, but until then, Sabra gets my weekly $3.89.