Hoomos Tahini (Recipe by Virginia Orfalea 1914-1988)

By Jane Orfalea   |   October 4, 2018

Almost every married woman knows the experience of trying to make their spouse’s favorite childhood meal. My husband is third-generation American-Lebanese and he grew up on foods with names I still can’t pronounce and had never tasted before. Pasta was my British parents’ idea of exotic cuisine. But how hard could it be? I’m a good cook. 

I started with something easy: hummus or hoomos as my husband keeps correcting me. I Googled a few recipes, chose the one with the most stars, read all the reviews and recommendations, and proudly presented my husband with my first hummus appetizer. He looked enthusiastically at the creamy beige dip encircled with a platter of warm pita and fresh market vegetables. 

Then the first bite. I held my breath. He smiled. He chewed. He smiled some more and said: “Delicious!” I felt a huge wave of relief – and enormous pride. It’s true, food is the secret to a man’s heart. “But,” he then added, “My mom used more lemon juice in her hoomos. And tahini. Did you put tahini in this?” 

No, I hadn’t. I didn’t know what tahini was. 

That was eight years ago and since then I’ve tried a few more times, but eventually I became too discouraged.

Then, a few weeks ago, while cleaning out some cupboards, I came across Mama Orfalea’s cookbook from August 1966, complete with her hand-written notes. Magic Cooking: Featuring Arabic & American Recipes. I had found the Holy Grail of Lebanese cuisine. A marital Golden Goose.

I quickly whipped up a batch of hoomos, again with the warm pita veggies, and I presented the platter to my husband. This time, he didn’t look quite so enthusiastic. Then he took a bite. And I waited. Finally, he looked up at me with the same adoration as my yellow Labs just before breakfast, and he said:

 “This is exactly like my mom made.”

(Prep time: 15 minutes) 

2 cans Garbanzo beans (drained)
1 clove pressed garlic
6 tbl tahini 
1 cup lemon juice
Pulverize in a blender or food processor (Mama Orfalea used a meat grinder
Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and salt to taste 

This week’s venders are: 

Montecito Village Market – tahini & garbanzo beans
Friday Farmers Market – vegetables


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