New Analysis Reveals Neanderthal Drug Use

Neanderthals are commonly seen as ferocious carnivores, but a study of their dental plaque has observed the latter are adaptable, changing their diet to suit local conditions. In what is today modern-day Belgium, this did indeed mean a dinner of woolly rhinoceros, but on the Iberian Peninsular, they chose a snack of mushrooms. More amazingly, it seems they had a knowledge of herbal medication we have only recently matched.

These findings come from a ground-breaking analyse led by Dr Laura Weyrich of Adelaide University, who found DNA in the hard plaque known as calculus on fossilized Neanderthal jaws. Weyrich was able to distinguish DNA from the meals of five Neanderthals from different parts of Europe.

Two specimens, detected near Spy, Belgium, had DNA from woolly rhinos and wild sheep in their teeth, Weyrich reports in Nature. Two from El Sidrn, Spain, on the other hand, had been eating pine nuts, moss, and mushrooms. Weyrich told IFLScience the area around El Sidrn was then heavily forested, and unlikely to support many big grazing animals, so it is not surprising the inhabitants ate a largely vegetarian diet.

The study also found DNA from mouth bacteria, which had more in common with that from a modern chimpanzee than yours or mine. Weyrich attributes this not just to the changes run on our mouths by toothbrushes and paste, but the influence of centuries of agriculture.

One of the Spanish Neanderthals was apparently sick. The combination of a dental abscess and an unpleasant stomach bug would have attained life very uncomfortable, but it seems the tribe had some good ideas on what to do. The sick person was consuming both poplar bark and grass with Penicillium mold on it. Poplar bark contains aspirin, while Penicillium is the original source of penicillin.

Weyrich told IFLScience that a lot of the grasses the Neanderthals ate probably had mold on them and they may not have known what cured them, only that certain foods stimulated them feel better when sick. Nevertheless, she is not well informed any other cases of humans trying out Penicillium before Alexander Fleming’s lucky find. Neanderthals maybe beat humen to one of the greatest scientific discoveries by at the least 48,000 years.

No one has yet used dental plaque to conduct a similar analysis of the feeing habits of our more direct ancestors. Weyrich said we don’t know if the Dna extracted came from the last snack the Neanderthals ate before they died, or were an earlier selection that happened to get stuck in their teeth. Nevertheless, the findings fit well with previous attempts to establish Neanderthal diets based on the isotopes in their bones routes in which their teeth wore down.

This cartoon of El Sidron Neandertals depicts food items detected in their dental plaque in this study. Abel Grau/ Comunicacin CSIC

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What It Entails For Your Life If You Were Born On A Waning Moon

Last week’s full moon in Pisces is over, and we’ve all moved happily on to the next moon phase , not that we had a choice in the issues. This is the waning gibbous phase of the moon — when the moon rises in the east, each day with less intense brightness until the last one-quarter moon( which has 50 percent luminosity ). There are three phases that occur after a full moon and before a new moon: the waning gibbous moon, the last quarter moon, and the waning crescent moon. Last week we focused on what it means to be born on a full moon, and now our focus will be on what it means to be born during a waning moon. Any of these phases can affect us just as deeply as someone born on a full moon, simply in different ways.

Even if you don’t follow astrology, you’ve likely noticed that during the full moon, our feelings can be erratic, spontaneous, and conflicted. The waning phases that come after a full moon are about slowing down a little bit, and this reflective quality has a lasting impact on the personality, life track, and relationships of those born during one of these three waning phases. To find out if you were born during one of these phases( waning gibbous, last one-quarter, or waning crescent) utilize this moon calculator.

Waning Gibbous Moon

People born during the first phase after the full moon are reflective, and have the quality of being an old soul, or someone wise beyond their years. They could be interested in religious analyse, or could make good educators, speechwriters, or orators of some sort. They’re driven by a desire to teach others what they know, and to learn as much as they can about whatever their passions are. They do, however, have a problem with being a little too preachy toward others, forgetting that dialogue is supposed to be a give-and-take.

The key to smoother relationships is for them to keep in intellect that everyone has a different understanding of things based on their own subjective experience, and that no matter what your intentions are, by lecturing others, you’re presuming a position of authority or superiority over them. A challenge for you to overcome in life is to respect the path of others, to learn borders, and on a more specific level, when to talk and when to listen. Your relationships will benefit when you humble yourself.

Last Quarter Moon

Last quarter moon children are born with a sense of nostalgia. They hold on to the past out of love, because every memory, relationship, and experience they have makes a lasting impression on them. They have a quality about them that bides the same throughout their lives , no matter their age. They are the living representation of the phrase, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

They have an ability to connect to the deeper meaning of any experience, since nothing is ever lost on them, but this can keep them trapped in the past, preventing them from growing and changing or simply enjoying the present moment. They could come off as somewhat rude because of a capacity to bide lost in their own minds. They must learn to love the present moment the same style they give attention to past experiences, and to let go of old grudges.

Waning Crescent

Those born during the last phase before the new moon have a strong clairvoyant side to them. The upcoming new moon’s energy and the reflective period of the two phases that come before have influenced their intuition in ways they may not fully comprehend until later in life. Suffice it to say, they would benefit by maintaining a dream publication or even just a notebook of random insights that seem to come to them from nowhere; these psychic nudges could be of use to them if they follow through on what their inner voice guides them to do.

You may be sought out for your wise advice, although you might feeling as if you don’t truly, truly connect to others because of an inability to pertain on a more superficial level; you have trouble with small talk and with big groups of people. You would, however, be a good person to go do mushrooms with in a desert somewhere. Try to cultivate relationships with people who espouse your weirdness as well as their own. Trust me, there are plenty of weirdos out there for you.

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FBI raids home linked to group accused of branding women

Federal authorities have raided an upstate New York home connected to a secretive group accused of coercing female adherents into having sex with its leader and get branded.

The raid of the residence of NXIVM( NEX’-ee-uhm) chairwoman Nancy Salzman came after the group’s longtime leader, Keith Raniere, appeared in federal court in Texas on Tuesday.

Raniere had been arrested in Mexico on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor. He waived his right to an identification hearing and is to be transferred to New York.

Raniere left the United States last year after The New York Times reported some women who joined a secret sorority within his Albany-based group were branded with a emblem that included his initials.

The girls told investigators they were subjected to “master-slave” conditions.

NXIVM has called the women’s grievances “lies.”

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Anna Jones’ recipes for quick polenta cooks stimulated two ways | The modern cook

Anna Jones recipes: Whether cooked slowly or finished off under the grill, polenta loves subtle spices, creamy butter and cheese and its perfect with earthy mushrooms and bitter radicchio …

Every household has a food thats divisive. Round my style, its polenta I love the stuff, while my husband has never understood the appeal. Ive converted him with these recipes though, so its polenta for dinner every night in our house until spring.

Originally, polenta was used as a wider word for anything vaguely grain-like, boiled and bubbled to a smooth porridge and spiked with spices and cheese. It was something I learned to stimulate early on. My first few years as a cook were almost solely in Italian kitchens and a big pot of bubbling polenta was almost always on the stove. I cooked it in massive batches in deep heavy pans that bubbled and simmered and spats like a delicious buttery geyser. It was almost meditative to stand and stir it and then anoint it with butter and so much parmesan that my limb would go numb grating it.

Theres a lot of tradition and sentiment when it comes to polenta, and Im sure Ill be in trouble with someone for how I cook mine. Im not indicating this is the definitive way to do it, but it is how I like it at home. One thing Id definitely advise: if youre cooking it on the stovetop, stir it regularly, as with a risotto. This will stop it sticking and enhance its creaminess.

When buying polenta, its good to know what to look for. I avoid the quick-cooking polenta as the real stuff doesnt take that long to cook and savors far better. Like the corn its ground from, it comes in a buttery spectrum from deep yellow to just off-white. The white stuff is harder to get hold of and has a more gentle and delicate corn flavor. It also comes in anything from finely ground to very coarse. The coarse one gives a better flavour, but does take a little longer to cook to a silky texture.

If polenta is hard to get hold of, you might find the same stuff labelled as cornmeal it may be a lot cheaper, too. Bear in intellect the finer the grain, the quicker it will cook. The liquid its cooked in too is something to consider, a lot of chefs cook it with milk or a mix of milk and water or even stock. I use water and stock respectively, water for the oozy polenta to maintain a clean flavor and stock for the bake: you could mixture and match as you please.

Here I cook polenta in two ways, one on the stove-top that results in the classic spoonable creaminess. The other I cook in the oven, which bides delicious and creamy beneath a crisp crust. Both dishes make a real dinner of polenta.

Quick saffron polenta bake

Warming, saffron-scented polenta is double-cooked here once in the pan and then finished under the grill with a scattering of squash, kale and feta. The feta crispens and the squash burnishes as the polenta finishes cooking. I love the warming sunny flavor of saffron, but it can be pricey. If you dont have any at home, you can make this without it, or use another herb, such as thyme or oregano. It wont savour the same, but it will add another dimension to your polenta.

Quick Quick saffron polenta bake: double-cooked once in the pan and then finished for the purposes of the grill with a scattering of squash, kale and feta. Photo: Issy Croker for the Guardian

Serves 4
A pinch of saffron strands
750ml hot vegetable stock
150g coarse polenta or cornmeal
50ml olive oil, plus a little extra for sauting veg
Salt and black pepper
250g piece of butternut squash, skin removed
1 head of kale( about 180 g) or other wintertime greens
A small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
100g feta cheese, disintegrated( optional)
1 unwaxed lemon, zested
A handful of toasted pine nuts
A small handful of rocket

1 Dissolve the saffron threads in the hot stock. Put the stock into a heavy bottomed pan over a medium hot and slowly pour in the polenta or cornmeal, stirring as you go. Maintain beating until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble, which will take about 56 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, season to savor with salt and black pepper, then pour into an ovenproof dish.

Creamy This is my favourite way to cook polenta slowly, then spiked with butter and parmesan. Photograph: Issy Croker for the Guardian

2 Use a velocity peeler to slice the squash into thin ribbons. Separate the kale leaves from their woody stems( dispose the stalks) and finely shred the foliages. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and saut the squash, kale leaves, garlic and thyme leaves until wilted and crisp at the leading edge. Season to taste, then set aside. Preheat the grill to high.

3 Scatter the kale and squash concoction over the polenta, then top with the feta and lemon zest.

4 Set the dish under the hot grill for 1012 minutes, or until the squash has begun to brown and the feta has browned and crisped with the heat. Allow the polenta to cool for a few minutes before dressing with pine nuts and rocket. Serve in the middle of the table so that everyone can dig in and help themselves.

Creamy polenta with charred mushrooms( main picture)

The earthiness of the mushrooms and bitter notes of the radicchio make this recipe the perfect thing to eat with naturally sweet polenta.

Serves 4
2 heads of radicchio
6 large portobello mushrooms or other wild mushrooms
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves
Small bunch of marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
6 tbsp olive oil

For the polenta
150g( about a mugful) of polentaor cornmeal
25g good butter
50g freshly grated parmesan( I use a vegetarian one)
A big handful of watercress
Salt and black pepper

1 Fill the kettle with water and bring it to the boil. Cut the radicchio into quarterss, then set the pieces into a large, shallow dish. Add your mushrooms. If youre using big mushrooms, cut them in half before adding these to the dish.

2 In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, garlic, marjoram or oregano, olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Mix well, then pour over the radicchio and mushrooms.

3 Get on with your polenta. Pour 1 litre of boiled water from the kettle into a large pan over a medium hot. Slowly add the polenta in a steady creek, whisking as you go. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the polenta thickens a little, then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes until cooked, stirring frequently( at least every 5 minutes) to make sure that it doesnt stick or go lumpy. The polenta is cooked when it has lost its grainy texture and feelings smooth.

4 Add the butter and parmesan to the cooked polenta, then season to savor with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

5 Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Remove the mushrooms and radicchio from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off back into the shallow dish. Reserve the marinade. Griddle the mushrooms and radicchio until they have become charred and soft throughout about 3-4 minutes on both sides. Once cooked, chop them very roughly and put them back into the marinade.

6 When everything is ready, ladle the polenta into bowls and top with the radicchio and mushrooms, another grating of parmesan and a small heap of watercress.

Anna Jones is a chef, writer and writer of A Modern Way to Eatand A Modern Way to Cook( Fourth Estate );; @we_are_food

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He Sets A Handle On A Clay Pot. Ensure What’s Inside- I Have To Try This!

Clay terracotta pots aren’t just for planting flowers! From a mini lighthouse to a BBQ smoker, clay pots can be transformed into cool and functional items for your home or garden.

Make A Unique Accent Table

Repurpose a terracotta pot into a classy accent table for your patio. Not merely is it fairly to look at, but it’s functional and will defy windy outdoor conditions. All you have to do is flip it upside down, paint it, glue some rope around the “top” and you’re all set!

DIY Windchime

Make a sweet windchime using tiny clay pots. All it takes is a coat of paint, twine to string the pots together, and some washers to stimulate the clanking audio in the wind. Full instructions can be found here.

DIY Smoker

When the climate warms up, it’s period for the meat to hit the grill! Do it a little bit different this BBQ season, and make a clay pot smoker to add wonderful flavor to your meat. A DIY tutorial can be found here.

Beverage Dispenser Stand

Beverage dispensers are a must have at picnic or BBQ party. Stimulate a fun clay pot stand to hold the dispenser, and paint it sky blue to match the outdoors.Let the galas begin!

Super Simple Votives

These candle votives are easy to make and great when entertaining guests outside. All you need is some melted wax and a wick. You can even use a branch to keep the wick in place while you pour the wax. Cut the wick to 1/4 inch once the wax has hardened.

Handy Space Heater

This little space heater can reach ambient temperatures upwards of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and is a great way to save on energy costs. It runs by trapping the hot that would normally rise up to the ceiling and dissipate. To attain your own, read the instructionshere.

Garden Mushrooms

I’m sure you’ve likely heard of decorating your garden with gnomes. Well how about turning your clay pot into a garden mushroom! Full instructions for making this fun little project can be found here.

Faux Fire Hydrant

Thisadorable yard art was created withvarious sizes of clay pots that have been painted red.

FunBird Feeder

Here’s something for the birds! Generate a cute little feeder that gives them a place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat before they continue on their journey. Instructions are here.

Personal S’mores Roaster

If there’s only one DIY thing you make this year, it needs to be this! It’s a total treat for yourself. It only can’t get any better than your own personal s’mores roaster. To make this, set aluminum foil and charcoal in a small unglazed terracotta pot. The remainder is melt in your mouth fun!

Flowerpot Cupcakes

Bake up a batch of flowerpot cupcakes for a whimsical springtime gift! Make sure the clay pots are not glazed. You can also add a cupcake liner for extra protection. A recipe for this delightful treat can be found here.

Simple Silverware Caddy

Thesecute silverware caddies would be a great addition to a family picnic or buffet.

Make A Lighthouse

With a bit of red and white paint and a lantern on top, you can make a cool little lighthouse for your garden. Perhaps you’ll get lucky and consider a magical garden fairy or two gather around the light at night.

Used Throughout The Centuries

Terracotta clay has been used for thousands of years. From the Chinese terracotta army to roofing shingles, it’s a versatile material. Just because it’s shaped like a pot doesn’t mean you can’t utilize it for another purpose. From fire hydrant garden art to personal s’mores roasters, clay pots are an upcycler’s dream.

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Morel mushroom hunters have brief tie to nav elusive prize – News Sentinel

The Republic

Morel mushroom hunters have brief tie to nav elusive prize
News Sentinel
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Ominous skies and the threat of a torrential downpour did not keep determined morel hunters out of Mounds State Park recently. Parking near tree line edges, they slipped quietly into the woods. Some of the mushroom hunters …
Morel of the story: Mushroom hunting serious in southern IndianaThe Republic

all 2 news articles »

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Hong Kong’s best dim sum: How to yum cha like a Cantonese

Hong Kong( CNN) Once upon a time, Hong Kong dim sum conferences were about tea appreciation — that’s why dim sum snacks are usually known in Cantonese as yum cha( or “drink tea” ).

The baskets of delicate dumplings were a foil for the fragrant beverage and considered snacks rather than a full meal.

These days, dim sum itself is a main player on the culinary stage.

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Rihanna Devotes the Performance of the Summer in the Batsh* t Valerian Movie

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is like Star Wars and Avatar had a baby, that baby grew up, took mushrooms, and guessed life was a video game. Plus, there’s Rihanna.

Friends, I don’t know if this is the single worst movie I have ever seen or if I should tell you to quit your job and expend the coming week watching it in theaters on loop-the-loop. I’m leaning toward the latter because, as previously mentioned, there is Rihanna. And, dammit, Rihanna is good.

The first genius be removed from deranged screenwriter-director Luc Besson( Lucy , The Fifth Element ) is to cast the three Hollywood actors who most look like aliens to star in his sci-fi caper/ love story/ cautionary narrative: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, and the aforementioned badgalriri, though it’s only the singing extraterrestrial beauty who actually plays an alien in the film.

DeHaan and Delevingne are commanders Valerian and Laureline, special spies more than 700 years in the future who are charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories in a now seemingly boundless universe rife with all kinds of species a $180 million special effects budget can provide you.

They have a screwball His Girl Friday -like banter. He’s the Han, brutishly in love with her but kind of a cad; she’s the Leia, exasperated and too intelligent for his shenanigans, but obviously harboring a crush. It’s exhausting–they read so young it’s like adolescents impersonating sex chemistry for a high school play–and ceaseless as the two become entangled in the film’s convoluted plot.

This plot is abandoned so frequently as the movie becomes distracted by its own manifested shiny things–look, there’s Rihanna !– that it’s almost pointless to recap. But, basically, the majestic city of Alpha, a utopian metropolis in which species from across the universe share brainpower and culture for “the worlds largest” good, is under attack by a sperm-looking foreigner race attempting revenge on Clive Owen, whose performance is so blustery you’ll need a windbreaker to watch his scenes.

The strolling sperm come from a planet that flourished on pearls( or something like that ), but was wiped out as collateral damage to human war. The key to regenerating their home is–and you can’t make this up–an adorable being, some kind of cross between an aardvark, lizard, and kitten, that literally poops pearls. Intergalactic war is nearly waged over this aardvark with calcite-induced IBS.

I understand that Valerian is based on a cherished comic book series, but as events unfold it’s hard to shake the notion that it’s a screenplay concocted by sugar-overdosing 12 -year-old boys at a sleepover party.( Besson himself takes full screenplay credit .) Honestly, that’s both its biggest attribute and flaw.

There’s the direct cribbing from the Star Wars films: the requisite adrenaline-pumping aircraft chase, the intergalactic meetings, the Jabba the Hut stand-in, Laureline’s heroine-to-harlot interlude, the corrupt commander, the Han-Leia will-they/ won’t-they romance, and a bunch of cute little aliens.

Hell, there’s even a trio of platypus-bat-like swindlers who are played as Three Stooges -esque comic relief, but veer more closely to Jar Jar Binks problematic territory.

Logic is an afterthought, with most action sequences taking on a video game-like convenience in which Valerian magically summons technological tricks, skills, and super powers to get him out of jams.

But where children and juveniles scripting is at its peak is in this Rihanna-centric interlude that takes a nonsensical 10 -ish minute infringe from the plot to sexualize the pop star before rejecting her character solely.

I’m not mad. It is the greatest 10 minutes of cinema this entire summertime.

It’s roughly 80 minutes into this acid trip-up that Rihanna ultimately arrives, and it will be approximately 80 years before I stop talking about her performance.

She plays Bubble (!) a dancer at a seedy space brothel with the misfortune of being presided over by Ethan Hawke in a cowboy hat after taking too much Adderall. It seems that everyone forgot to tell Rihanna they weren’t going to bother with the whole acting thing in this film, because she goes full Fantine with this role. Anne Hathaway will watch this performance and go,” A bit much , no ?” No.

We meet Bubble as she begins to dance for Valerian. She’s in full Fosse drag: the bowler hat, the fishnets, the body-hugging black leotard, and the body rolls while she dances on a chair.

Bubble’s gift, though, is that she’s a shapeshifter, so cue the supercut of Rihanna living out all your pubescent fetishes: sexy nurse, contortionist, stripper, Catholic school girl, French maid, roller girl, Catwoman dominatrix. There’s no reason for the length of this sequence other than to lavish on Rihanna, but seeing as there’s no discernible reason for 65 percent of the pass in Valerian , we’ll take it.

Don’t be fooled. There’s more to Bubble than sexy dancing. RiRi runs zero to 100 in her first lines of dialogue, crafting her courtesan alien into some sort of desperate Sally Bowles trapped artist: wounded, opposing her instincts to con and turn tricks, an artist whose life circumstances are denying her the opportunity to be the artist she once urgently wanted to be.

” What good is liberty when you’re an illegal immigrant far away from home ?” Bubble asks Valerian, in a line read worth every solitary penny of the film’s monstrous $ 200 million budget.

Rihanna is to Valerian what Nicole Scherzinger is to the Dirty Dancing remake.( I only talk about icons here at The Daily Beast .)

She brings gusto, grit, and gravitas to a project that is otherwise a farce. She’s wrings spitfire energy, sadnes, hope, and, ultimately, doom out of basically two scenes, mostly done in motion capture. She performs like someone told her to” go big or go home” but she only found out her home is on fire and there isn’t any-damn-where to go back to.

This is going to be a minor spoiler, but it’s hardly going to ruin things for you: They devote our daughter a demise scene with some real hokey-ass, ham-fisted dialogue. Rihanna doesn’t care.” It was my pleasure performing for you ,” she tells, her “Rosebud.” The pleasure was ours, Rihanna. I tell: “Oscar.”

Rihanna’s limited acting career has been marked by extreme oddness and full commitment. Why was Rihanna in Battleship ? Who knows, but she was redefined the word “self-serious” in an effort to prove her stunt casting wasn’t just a stunt.( It was a stunt .) And her #PeakTV guest star debut? In, of all things, Bates Motel , in the role Janet Leigh played in Psycho . Once your visceral “WTF?” subsides, she’s great in it.

Rihanna’s fleeting turning as a shapeshifting alien sexuality employee isn’t the only good thing about Valerian , of course. To call the visuals astonishing would be an understatement, and Besson is masterful in his use of 3D. There are action set pieces that are truly thrilling, especially one at a market that has characterized alternating dimensions in the first act. And I will not rest until I have a pooping aardvark cat of my own.

Sure, the dialogue in the last act is so corny that audiences actually chuckled. Sure, there are more pits in the plot than there are in my Tastee D-Lite punch card. But in the end, this out-of-its-mind movie is a whole lot of fun to watch, which is more than anyone can say about most.( I’ve never hooted louder than when one of those sperm foreigners held Dane DeHaan’s face in their hands and said, with utmost seriousness,” My daughter .”)

Who are we kidding, though? It’s all about Rihanna. It always is.

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Did you know some edible mushrooms can still make you sick? – Michigan State University Extension

Michigan State University Extension

Did you know some edible mushrooms can still make you sick?
Michigan State University Extension
For example, you could eat beefsteak mushrooms 10 times and be fine, but become seriously ill or even die the seventh time you ate them because those particular the mushrooms contained enough toxin to cause illness or death. Even breathing the vapors …

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How to eat: hummus

This month, How to Eat is dipping into hummus. But would you ever set it on a sandwich? Do you eat it with carrots or crackers, fried courgettes or lamb? And does its popularity truly hinge on the fact that you can eat it while unloading the dishwasher?

It is not often How to Eat( HTE) the Guardian blog defining how best to eat Britains favourite dishes feels it necessary to refer to the yellowing cuts of the arts archive. But, just occasionally, it happens that a spate of self-indulgent ad-libbing during a 2011 National Theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors represents, in one sentence, so much of the misunderstanding, nay prejudice, that surrounds this months topic: hummus.

Apparently, during their larking about, the One Man, Two Guvnors cast would regularly ask the audience for something to feed. Offered a hummus sandwich, James Corden the George Bernard Shaw of Generation Bantz is reported to have exclaimed: Oh God, is this a Guardian readers night?

Please take a moment, dear reader, to fully LOLZ that one out.

Now, there is a lot about hummus culture that HTE has neither the space nor the inclination to fully explore here. It will not, for example, become mired in the quagmire of whether( sensible, egalitarian) hummus or( the unbearably affected) houmous is the correct spelling. It will not tread on Felicity Cloakes well-worn kitchen lino by discussing how hummus should be made. It will not seek to resolve the hummus wars that divide the Countries of the middle east. Suffice to say, HTE likes the stance of hummus-obsessed Israeli blogger, Shooky Galili: Hummus is a centuries-old Arab dish nobody owns it, it belongs to the region.

Hummus is a centuries-old Arab dish nobody owns it, it belongs to the region. Photo: Getty Images/ EyeEm/ Kirsty Lee

But but but there are certain egregious slurs that we cannot let slide. Primary here is the idea that we Guardianista are preoccupied with hummus when, as any fule kno, it is not 1992. These days, we love quinoa, smashed avo and crispy kale. The notion that hummus is the conserve of a PC, sandal-wearing, left-wing vanguard is ridiculous when 41% of Britain has a pot in the fridge. Worst of all, though, is Cordens blithe adoption of the concept of a hummus sandwich. What kind of world are we living in, where* voice rising to a fever pitch of indignation* people are putting hummus in sandwiches ?

The hummus-sandwich interface

Insomuch as hummus has a role to play in sandwiches and wraps, it is as a garnish, deployed in a supporting role. Think Ernie Wise to Eric Morecambes falafel, grilled meats or Greek salad. HTE has read hummus described, incredibly, as a like-for-like replacement for butter or mayonnaise. It is not. Instead, it is better thought of as one of a number of broadly Levantine sauces( zhoug, tahini, tzatziki, harissa ), which when the( flat) bread is thin enough and its contents juicy enough that this will not become a stodgy slog can add a further layer of flavour intricacy to a sandwich.

However, the idea of adding often claggy, chunky hummus to a thick, sliced bread sandwich of turkey or chicken( how dry would that be ?) or, for the non-meat eaters, employing it as a major sandwich filling in endless combinations of avocado, tomatoes, egg, spicy carrot and feta, seems not only gastronomically questionable how well do those ingredients gel, actually ? but also a surefire recipe for a truly dreary, lumpen sandwich. That is a wad of mush that you will start eating at lunch and still be chewing at tea time.


There is a lot going on in hummus, it is, variously, creamies, nutty, lemony, garlicky, savoury, salty( perhaps too salty ). Therefore, it is essential to choose dipping implements that offer either a) a neutral carbohydrate base for the hummus or b) a clearly complementary flavour to it( sweet carrots being a prime example ). Ideally, you should have a varied selection of these available every time you feed hummus.

Sweet carrots are a prime example of complementary flavour. Photograph: Getty/ Cat London

Top dippers : warm, pliable flatbreads or pitta; carrots( raw for contrasting crunch , not par-boiled as is common ); refreshing cucumber; bread sticks; plain crackers( nothing cheesy or onionflavoured etc ); Ryvita or a similarly dark crackers, for extra earthy depth; overdone strips of barbecued beef or lamb( burnt aims, basically ); celery( useful for get into a supermarket pots nooks and crannies ); raw white onion( conveniently curved and complementary in flavour ); red buzzer pepper.

Dysfunctional dippers : any fried veggie( that layer of greasiness is just unwelcome ); tortilla chips or, indeed, any crisp( often too salty, if not seasoned with jarring lime, etc ); battered fish goujons( a bizarre textural car-crash ); grilled halloumi thumbs; woolly, buttered sliced white toast( unless you are a child under the age of seven ); tomatoes( impractical ); radishes( too overtly peppery ).

Hot or cold?

HTE enjoys the cool effect of fridge-cold hummus, while acknowledging that room-temperature is preferable if you want its flavours to glisten. Warm hummus is a different matter altogether. Its a texture thing. In its texture, warm hummus ranges from something that recalls lumpy porridge to a silken soup. It conspicuously lacks the smooth, reassuring density of cold hummus that we Brits have come to love.

Why not jazz up hummus with whole chickpeas and olive oil? Photo: fotosr/ Getty Images/ iStockphoto

Hummus differences

There are, of course, numerous sensible ways to jazz up hummus: with whole chickpeas and olive oil,( toasted) pine nuts, smoky paprika and various Middle Eastern spice, herb and seed mixtures( dukkah, zaatar, sumac ). However, hummus is not endlessly versatile.

Topping it with slicings of roasted red pepper or courgette presents an obstacle if dip, while commercial versions topped with caramelised onions are, usually, style too sweet. Likewise, there are endless fluctuations from the innocuous if mystifying( topping it with fried mushrooms or chopped hard-boiled egg) to the, shall we say, more challenging addition of dried mint.

As for those supermarket versions that augment the hummus itself by blitzing-in red peppers, Moroccan spices, coriander, roasted tomatoes, etc, they are, invariably, borderline inedible. They are topped only by those so-called hummus made with avocado, broad beans, beetroot, etc that dispense with the chickpeas wholly. They are labelled hummus merely because the word paste is less sexy.

Sharing etiquette

On the vexed topic of double dip, please refer to this entry on chips n dips. In brief, this blog does not share( pardon the pun) Western societys bacteria hysteria. If your mates are people who freak out if you go in for a second dip with a half-eaten carrot stick, then the answer is simple: get new mates.

The right route to hummus. Photo: Marianna Massey/ Getty Images

When ?

Lunch or as a snack. One that, as you warm that third flatbread and open a second bathtub of hummus, still feels vaguely virtuous. Such self-delusion is a dangerous, if delicious, thing.


Ideally, you would dedicate hummus the respect it deserves. You would liberally top it with adornments and serve it in the centre of a large plate surrounded by your dipping veggies of choice, sides of raw onion and pickles, and a separate pile of hot, fluffy pittas.

In reality, many of us regularly feed hummus rapidly at a worktop, busily cutting carrots into batons and retrieving crackers from a box, while doing other jobs in the kitchen. It is not ideal. But from time to time it is very useful. Romanticise hummus all you like, but its popularity in the West is, to a great extent, down to its practicality.

So hummus, how do you feed yours?

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