A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 17, 2011

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Hummus
Hummus is a Levantine Arab food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is popular throughout the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.

The English word comes from Turkish humus meaning the hummus food dip or spread, which in turn comes from Arabic حمّص ḥummuṣ, in turn derived from ḥimmaṣ “chickpeas”. The earliest known attestation for hummus in English is in 1955. Spellings of the word in English can be inconsistent. Among the spellings are hummus, houmous, hommos, humos, hoummos, etc. The spelling humus is generally avoided in English as it is a homonym of humus (organic matter in soil), though this is the usual Turkish spelling and the OED indicates the word entered the English language from Turkish. The chickpea in Turkish has the unrelated name nohut. The Arabic name of the prepared spread is حمّص بطحينة ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means “chickpeas with tahini”.

Many cuisine-related sources describe hummus as a very ancient food, or connect it to famous historical figures such as Saladin. Indeed, its basic ingredients—chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic—have been eaten in the region for millennia.

But in fact, there is no specific evidence for this purported ancient history of hummus bi tahini. Though chickpeas were widely eaten in the region, and they were often cooked in stews and other hot dishes, puréed chickpeas eaten cold with tahini do not appear before the Abbasid period in Egypt and the Levant.

The earliest known recipes for something similar to hummus bi tahini date to 13th century Egypt. A cold purée of chickpeas with vinegar and pickled lemons with herbs, spices, and oil, but no tahini or garlic, appears in the Kitāb al-Wusla ilā l-habīb fī wasf al-tayyibāt wa-l-tīb; and a purée of chickpeas and tahini called hummus kasa appears in the Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada: it is based on puréed chickpeas and tahini, and acidulated with vinegar (though not lemon), but it also contains many spices, herbs, and nuts, and no garlic. It is also served by rolling it out and letting it sit overnight, which presumably gives it a very different texture from hummus bi tahin.

The earliest known documentation of hummus in the modern form comes from a late 19th-century text; and it appears it was unknown outside Damascus at that time.

Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
hum·mus noun \ˈhə-məs, ˈhu̇-\
Definition of HUMMUS
: a paste of pureed chickpeas usually mixed with sesame oil or sesame paste and eaten as a dip or sandwich spread
Origin of HUMMUS
Arabic ḥummuṣ chickpeas
First Known Use: 1949

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hummus, n.
Forms:  Also hoummos.
Etymology:  < Turkish humus mashed chick-peas.
In Middle Eastern countries (and also, more recently, elsewhere) an hors d’œuvre made from ground chick-peas and sesame oil flavoured with lemon and garlic.
1955 E. David Bk. Mediterranean Food 158 Hummus.‥ Cook the chick peas‥pound them, [etc.].
1967 Guardian 8 Dec. 6/4 Order the paste of ground chick peas, oil, and lemon which is called hummus.
1969 M. J. Philippou 101 Arabian Delights 48 Hoummos ib bandora. Chick peas in tomato sauce.‥ Hoummos ib Taheeneh. Chick peas in Taheeneh.

Ethnologie der Jemenitschen Juden
von Erich Brauer
Carl Winters Universitatsbuchhandlung
Kulturgeschictliche Bibliothek 7
Pg. 100:
himmus oder hummus wird von den Juden im Maghrib das gelub gennant.  Das Wort stammt angeblich von dem Anfang der Benediktion uder Brot “hamosi..."*
*ha-mosi’ lechem min ha-ares..., der das Brot aus der Erde hervorbringt.

Historical Jewish Press: Newspapers
5 November 1942, Palestine Post, pg. 4:
Beans and peas of every description including “hoummos” have been declared controlled articles throughout Palestine by the Food Controller.

Historical Jewish Press: Newspapers
21 November 1943, Palestine Post, pg. 2:
Some of the spicy dishes prepared with tehina are eggplant, raw vegetables and houmos (chick peas), while for sweets it can be combined with dibs or dried fruits.

Historical Jewish Press: Newspapers
7 November 1946, Palestine Post, “The Day’s Menu,” pg. 2:
Humos and all kinds of salads.

Google News Archive
24 August 1948, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, “Quiet Day in Jerusalem” by John Roderick, pg. 4, col. 5:
I sat down in a bare mess hall tgo a meal of hummus, an Arab dish of sour cream and cucumbers.

Historical Jewish Press: Newspapers
2 December 1949, Palestine Post, pg. 3 ad:
30. Allenby Road, TEL AVIV

Going to Jerusalem
by Willie Snow Ethridge
New York, NY: Vanguard Press, Inc.
Pg. 196:
My favourite was homus, a thick paste made out of those little round, yellow chick peas, mashed and mixed with teheny, the Arab name for the
second stage, or dregs, of sesame.

Google Books
Strange Lands and Friendly People
by William O. Douglas
New York, NY: Harper
Pg. 198:  Hummos bithiini (Chick peas with sesame. Chick peas mashed and mixed with hummos which is diluted and mixed with olive oil, lemons, and parsley).

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, October 17, 2011 • Permalink