Whenever I'm at a party, I like to see if there's hummus.
I like the texture. It doesn't seem really bulky, depending on who makes it. Nacho cheese dip for me is too thick and heavy for my tastes and French onion dip is sometimes too thick, but I like it more than cheese dip.
Hummus is made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), garlic and ground-up sesame seeds called tahini. You can buy tahini at the store in the Middle Eastern aisle, or you can buy sesame seeds and grind them yourself.
Hummus started in the Middle East and is now so popular in the U.S. when you go to the store now there are lots of varieties. There's roasted garlic, red pepper, jalapeno and others. I prefer the more traditional hummus with chick peas and garlic.
It's easy to make if you have a food processor. We used canned beans instead of dried beans because it saves a good amount of time.
I like to eat hummus with tortilla chips, but that's not the traditional way. The traditional way is with pita chips. You can also eat with a variety of foods, like carrots, celery and red pepper.
A word from Mom: Hummus has been around for millennia and culinary historians point to the first published recipe in the 13th century. So what's behind its relatively sudden world-wide popularity?
Many people point to the Mediterranean Diet -- a food plan includes olive oil, Greek yogurt, fish and minimally processed food -- as one of the factors behind the spread's meteoric rise.
What's not to love about it? It's packed with protein, healthy fats and flavor. Besides eating hummus with chips and carrots, I enjoy it as a sandwich spread. It's yummy on toasted sesame bagels with alpha sprouts, or on whole grain bread with cucumber slices, roasted red peppers and feta cheese.
•Jerome Gabriel, an eighth-grader, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. His mom is Daily Herald Food Editor Deborah Pankey.