Hummus, Communism, and the Decline of Our Once Great Intellect

There was a time when we were intellectuals to be reckoned with… my brother, sister-in-law, husband and I would sit around the dining table discussing politics, social change and the benefits and disadvantages of living under a wholly capitalist cultural hegemony.

I finally realized that we are just not those people anymore.

Now, if an issue is not related to food going in a kid’s mouth or poop coming out of its butt, we can’t seem to approach it with any degree of intellectual credibility.

This following conversation seriously drove it home for me last week:

Me: ChompChompSnerrfle, you know, honey, this hummus you made for the party is really good.  ChompChomp, you’re really good at making hummus… you’re like a hummus ambassador because I know, like, three ChompChomp people who didn’t even like hummus before they had your hummus.

My Brother: What are you talking about?  Who doesn’t like hummus?

Tariq: No, she’s right, I’ve had several people tell me that they really like the hummus I make even though they didn’t like hummus before.

My Brother: Not liking hummus is xenophobic.

Me: Are you serious?  What, so if a person doesn’t like hummus that means they hate Arabs and Greeks?

My Brother: Pretty much.

Me: You can’t be serious.  So, if I don’t like pizza, that means I hate Italians?

(For the record, I love pizza.  Too much, really.)

My Brother: I’m totally serious…. the pizza thing doesn’t work because pizza isn’t culturally specific anymore.  Look, it’s like peanut butter and jelly.  If you don’t like peanut butter and jelly, you’re a communist.


(And then my husband opens his mouth to say something I think is going to be reasonable, but says this instead…)

Tariq: Hey… you know, when India was heavily influenced by communism… we didn’t have peanut butter and jelly.  And that’s when I lived there, and I still don’t really like peanut butter and jelly very much.  I think he has a point.

Me: Hating peanut butter and jelly does NOT make you a communist.  And hating hummus doesn’t mean you hate Arabs.

My Brother: Look, okay, let’s just say this… people who hate hummus do not necessarily hate Arabs, but people who hate Arabs definitely hate hummus.

Me: I, um… uh… okay.

(Holy crap.  This argument is actually starting to make sense to me.)

At this point, my sister-in-law walks in from spending nearly an hour trying to get their baby to sleep.

Me and My Brother: (in a tone that sounds eerily like, “Maaawaam, s/heee won’t give me the reeemote!!)  ARE PEOPLE WHO HATE HUMMUS XENOPHOBIC?!!!

My sister in law: (indignant)  What?  No, that’s silly.  (Reflective silence)  There’s hummus?  Nobody said we had hummus.  ChompChompSnerrfle.  Wow, this is, like, really good hummus.

And that, my friends, was a perfectly true, totally exact retelling of our dinner conversation.

About Faiqa Khan

Mother of two, wife of one, master of none. Trying madly to be prolific on her personal blog at Native Born and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she's not a racist on Hey! That's My Hummus!


  1. Apryl's Antics says:

    I love hummus and if it turns anti-hummus people into pro-hummus people, it must be really good. I’d like the recipe. I also don’t like PB&J sandwiches. I think it’s because of the grape jelly, which must mean I hate French people.

  2. Megan says:

    I love hummus. And peanut butter and jelly.

    I am world peace.

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  3. Oh my goodness. This is fantastic. Food as a metaphor for world peace…what could be better? But wait. What happens if you are a member of a cultural group and dislike your OWN culture’s food? Does that mean you’re anti-yourself???

    This is like the Moebius strip of all food arguments. I think I need some hummus.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’m kind of take it or leave it when it comes to hummus. I actually prefer some Frito Lay bean dip. On the other hand I have no problems with Arabs. Maybe I just haven’t had any really good hummus.

  5. When you can get hummus at McDonald’s, world peace is imminent. A delicious world peace with pita. And hopefully garlic. Yum.

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    • Faiqa Khan says:

      Actually… that is a very, very astute observation. Not that my opinion means anything… but I think you’re on to something there.

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  6. Sahar says:

    Oh how I would have loved to be part of that conversation. Love both PBJ’s and hummus:-)

  7. Dave2 says:

    My love for hummus knows no bounds. I’m never without hummus in my fridge. I’ve never tried making it by hand though. Hmmm…

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    • Faiqa Khan says:

      You should do it… it’s 1/3 of the cost AND no preservatives! (They usually put a little synthetic citric acid in the store bought/restaurant kind).

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  8. Zia Khan says:

    Actually, I said that disliking hummus had high sensitivity, but low specificity for anti-arab/mediterranean sentiment.

    • Faiqa Khan says:

      Oh, honey, I DO remember that. I just didn’t want you to come off as too crazy in this post. Th people don’t know you and love you like I do, bro.

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  9. shiny says:

    True story:

    Back when I was an undergrad at the University of Maryland, I was involved in one of the Jewish student groups on campus. We would sponsor an annual cultural festival coinciding with Israeli Independence Day, part of which involved obtaining a local vendor from a kosher restaurant not too far away who sold falafel in the center of campus. And, of course, hummus. I mean, what is falafel without hummus?

    That act in itself prompted an angry letter to the editor of the newspaper by one of the leaders of the Palestine Student Union on campus. She felt that she (and Palestinians on campus and worldwide) deserved an apology. Why? Because not only were we (Israelis? Jews? Jewish students? The vendor?) stealing the homeland of their people, but we were also stealing their cultural food. How dare we!

    The interesting this was that we were trying to keep this event as apolitical as possible so it wouldn’t be an issue of advocacy. Yet it was easy for someone to take something seemingly apolitical and put spin on it.

    Hummus is wonderful. And if you want an Israeli perspective on how it’s used, simply watch the mediocre Adam Sandler movie “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.” Hummus makes appearances in ways you’ll wish you hadn’t seen…

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    • Faiqa Khan says:

      I have seen Zohan… hilarious!! And would it surprise you to know that I am not AT ALL surprised by that incident? In fact, I’ve had that conversation more than once about hummus and its relationship to Israel/Palestine. It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard, really. Hummus should be used for love, not war.

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  10. I’ve never had hummu. Maybe I have had to but just don’t know I’ve had it.
    I love PB&J’s though. But with strawberry jelly. Grape jelly just tastes strange.

  11. I don’t care for peanut butter. It sticks in my mouth and get all gunky.

    I hate Care Bears.

    I am the 5th horseman of the apocalypse.

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  12. Dana says:

    I hate Care Bears too. Does that make us anti-kid? Because my children aren’t going to know what to make of that.

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  13. Still though, still thought-provoking for hummus. Right?

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  14. tariq says:

    Now if you really want to cross all boundaries, do the following– a deli-turkey sandwich with Hummus as a filling, topped with Vietnamese Hot Sauce (the kind you get with Pho), with a side of aged cheese, and fried plantains for dessert!

  15. caroline says:

    Sadly , I fully understand the point your making here but all I really want is the Hummus recipe

  16. Ann's Rants says:

    But see, a bet a lot of yahoos still like gyros, even if they hate Arabs and hummus…

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  17. Momma says:

    Totally off the subject, or maybe not- have you ever seen the sitcom “little Mosque on the Prairie? It’s kinda hokey, being a Canadian sitcom, but I kinda (blush) like it. I trust it’s politically correct, don’t know.

  18. InternetFriend says:

    There are definitely a LOT of Israelis who love hummus but don’t have such equally loving sentiments to all Arabs. So I’m not quite sure this works. Maybe me even. *wink*

  19. BetaDad says:

    Hummus is just another aspect of the threat of “creeping Sharia.”

    I stole that joke from Colbert, who stole it from crazy-ass people like Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck who think that the availability of Hilal food is part of the plot of the “Global Caliphate.”

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  20. Beverly says:

    I think this is so funny when hummus is almost as mainstream as salsa. Same issue, different culture – I love to listen to people here in Nebraska (yeah, we’re the state trying to pass the immigration law similar to the one in Arizona) who in the same sentence can both tell you how illegal Mexican immigrants are single handedly destroying America but also tell you their favorite place to go eat Mexican food. Sometimes I want to move to France. Better class of grape jelly at least!

  21. Traci says:

    We went out to dinner a couple of nights ago and your brother precedes to tell this story. After the story an old and dear friend says, “I don’t like hummus.” Sadly I got sidetracked by our toddler, but I had to laugh because I could tell Z was trying to backpedal his stance on hummus. It was great.
    Sidebar: Now that the seed has been planted, I do think I’ll always think twice about people who don’t like hummus…sad, but true…and another example of the fall of our, or at least MY, intellect.

  22. Avitable says:

    But is it uncultured if I eat good hummus with a spoon?

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