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THE HUMUSIYA

A little Hummus 101...

 

Like pizza is to a pizzeria, hummus is to a humusiya.  In Israel, we say "hoo-moos," so it's a "hoo-moo-siya" with a sandpapery "kh" for the first letter if you can do it.

Is hummus "Israeli" food?  Well, the origins of hummus are somewhat obscure - some say Egyptian, others say Greek.  No one really knows.  Being at a crossroads of civilization, the food of Israel is really an amalgamation of various cultural influences, especially Turkish, Iraqi, and Yemenite traditions.  However, uniquely in Israel, hummus is not just a side or a condiment.  Instead, it's a main course.  A simple bowl of hummus can fill you up to get you to a bigger meal ahead, or it can be garnished with toppings to really satisfy your hunger. 

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What does it mean to be kosher?

The Humusiya is dedicated to providing kosher food to the community.  An important precept of kashrut is the separation of meat and milk to symbolically separate life from death and to uphold the ethical treatment of animals.  For The Humusiya, this means that not only can it not have the two on the same menu, but it also cannot even have the two in the same kitchen.

 

Side note, Ashkenazi (Northern and Eastern European) Jews do not consider fish to be meat whereas Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) and Sephardic (Spanish) Jews do.

 

Jewish tradition has always upheld the vegetarian diet as the ideal while regarding meat consumption as something occasional.  In this light, a vegetarian/flexetarian diet might be more natural to a Middle-Eastern diet from which the values of kashrut originated.  Perhaps this is why Tel Aviv has more vegetarians per capita than anywhere in the world.

All of the food served at the Cardo Cafe' is vegetarian-chalavi (dairy), with excellent meat-alternative options.  You may not even miss it.  However, The Humusiya will provide meat dishes through its catering operations.

Background

The Humusiya's founder, Eitan Altshuler, grew up in Norfolk but eventually made aliyah to Israel in 2008.  As a Green Apprentice, he practiced permaculture at Kibbutz Lotan in the Negev desert, and later on, he went on to harvest dates at Neot Semadar and pick lettuce at Yot Vata.  Eventually, he moved to Tel Aviv and worked as a baker in Herzliya for a number of years. 

 

In all that time, Eitan observed the creative energy of Israeli society.  He learned Hebrew, developed an Israeli personality, and gained an "anything is possible with enough chutzpah" attitude.  Most of all, he acquired a palate for Middle Eastern food through regular visits to Shuk HaCarmel, where he would sample all kinds of local treats and meet his friends for hummus.

At the same time that Eitan lived in Israel, the country was also undergoing a cultural renaissance with an overflowing amount of art and music being produced.  Now that he is back in the US, he would like to introduce Americans to it.

 

In his opinion, there is also a great need to heighten the public's awareness of Israel and Jewish identity & culture.  Maybe, a humusiya can be a place to not just eat but also for community and cultural enrichment.

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Goals

The Humusiya is, first and foremost, dedicated to quality food that is affordable.  One shouldn't have to bust your wallet to eat out, and its founder will always have those who are on tight budgets at heart. 

In its operation, The Humusiya wants people to feel respected, appreciated, and enjoy being a part of the workplace.  It seeks to initiate ecological best practices such as composting, graywater management, and energy-efficient equipment on top of sourcing its ingredients locally (especially pasture-raised eggs)

It is also hoped that this food will bring people from all walks of life together.  To The Humusiya, it will always be about more than just food but about culture, attitude, and spirit.  In time, we would like to expand our operations while we dream of a brick-and-mortar location to really do everything we think is possible.

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