I come from a small-ish town that is quite often considered “redneck-ish.” I know live in a slightly bigger town that is almost always considered “hippie-ish.” I grew up a picky, picky child and I am now an enthusiastically exploratory Vegan. I knew I was going to go visit my family for the Christmas holidays months ago, and I sent my mom a text back on November 14th, 2015 to give her warning. My mom loves vegetables, but aside from that didn’t really know what Vegan meant. I was prepared, heading to my small, redneck-ish hometown for two things: 1) doing the majority of the cooking while I visited, which was totally fine and even exciting for me and, 2) having to explain to everyone I met what being Vegan means. I was kind of excited by the new situation and looking forward to the challenge.
My trip home included a 1.5 hour ferry ride, in which my little pug Ossa and I were sequestered away in a tiny little “Pet Zone” on the car deck of the boat, followed by a 4+ hour car ride with my sister, mom and 15 year old niece. I knew I would have no food options along the way so I brought myself a big big smoothie – shout out to my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, my beloved Nutri-Bullet – and a massive bag of chopped up carrot sticks to be dipped in an equally massive tub of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.
When I broke out the snacks I, of course, offered them around to my family in the car. My mom was having a tough time with teeth that day so declined the crunchy carrots, and my sister wasn’t really interested. My niece asked what Hummus was. Let me back up for a quick moment to tell you that this girl is picky. Maybe not as picky as I was at her age, but she is picky. One of only things in my life that make me sad when looking back at my history is the realization that I went through so many, many years wasting my energy on disliking foods that are so beautifully delicious. For 18 years I refused to eat red peppers! It breaks my heart, and it makes me desperate to encourage my young, impressionable niece to try new things. But…I know she’s picky, so I just told her it was veggie dip. I thought that might be easier to accept than smushed up chickpeas. She tried it. She didn’t fall instantly in love with it, like I had hoped, but she was eating it. Victory #1!
As I munched away happily, I asked my mom what her favourite flavour of Hummus was. I was shocked – jaw on the ground kind of shocked – to hear that she didn’t even know what it was and neither did my sister! WHAT!? Hummus is one of my non-negotiable food staples. I always have Hummus in my house, usually in multiple flavours at at time. I eat it every day, literally. Often at more than one meal! (This is just one example: Easy Hummus Wrap Recipe) I make it myself (it is incredibly cheap and easy and I’ll have recipes up here soon for you) and I buy it weekly, just in case. The idea of running out actually makes my heart race in fear. Hummus is a STAPLE. And my family didn’t even know what it was.
That evening when we finally reached home base, I greeted my lovely step-dad and sat down to some more snacking on carrots and Hummus. This is another picky eater, my step-dad. But he is very, very nice and will always at least try anything I make for him. I asked him if he like Hummus. He used to work in a grocery store, so at least he knew what it was. But he looked at it and said, with a pleading look on his face, “No…I don’t think it would be something I would like.” I know he was really hoping I wouldn’t make him try it. A nicer person than me might not have. But it’s Hummus. HUMMUS. I can’t let anyone go through life without trying Hummus if I have any say in the matter!
So I put the carrots in front of him and the massive tub of Hummus in front of him and said, “You should really try it. It’s amazing.”
And he did. And he liked it. He really liked it!
The next day my mom finally tried it, and she liked it. My sister tried it and she liked it. My youngest niece, who’s almost 9 tried it and loved it. She couldn’t get enough of it! Her older brother, who’s almost 10 did not try it, because he is the pickiest of picky eaters in my family. But I successfully converted 5 family members to the Hummus life. I really think I saved them, in a small (huge) way.
So that’s my story of bringing the good word of Hummus to my family in a small, redneckish town.
So often, I have found, it is really easy to say “I don’t like that” when really you mean “I’m scared to try that.” If you open up your mind, it just might get blown! If you haven’t tried Hummus, please oh please try some today. Don’t wait. Don’t make it a New Year’s resolution. Go out today and get a container and try it. Dip your veggies in it. Slather it all over a wrap. Warm up a piece of naan bread or pita to dip in it, or scoop it out with crackers or chips. Just try it. And please report back right here.
Hummus lovers – what are your favourite flavours and recipes? Leave your comments below!