Children’s author and TV host, Alice 'In Frames’ Zaslavsky, can’t wait to get her carrot stuck into a plate of hummus at the In One Voice Jewish street festival in Elsternwick on Sunday 19 March.
Zaslavsky, who wrote Alice’s Food A-Z and hosts Crunch Time on 9Go!, is judging the hummus competition organised by Caring Mums, the organisation which supports new mothers across Victoria.
“At last year’s In One Voice festival I judged the cheesecake competition and was consumed by cheese dreams for the following week. That’s why I suggested hummus for this year’s competition,” Zaslavsky said.
“Hummus is a great equaliser. Everyone thinks they’ve got the best recipe. Hummus is popular right across the Jewish community. It’s also something kids can whip up – hummus is such a great addition to lunch boxes – just add carrot or celery sticks.”
Zaslavsky says the key to a good hummus is getting the right balance between the ingredients.
“Hummus needs the right acidity – just enough lemon juice to cut through the richness of the tahina and chickpeas. Personally, I prefer a good hit of garlic – something that practically clears the nostrils!,” she said.
One of the many virtues of hummus is that it encourages us to eat fresh vegetables, Zaslavsky said.
“Hummus is both delicious and nutritious,” she reckons. “It encourages us to make salads and move beyond the meat and three veg approach to meals. And, remember, hummus is just one step away from a falafel ball.”
Zaslavsky found judging the 2016 cheesecake competition challenging.
“I judge a lot of cooking competitions and usually it’s behind closed doors, not in front of the entrants. Having to look all those Yiddishe mamas in the eye was quite an experience. On the other hand, it was refreshing to give real-time feedback to all of the cooks involved. Each of the cheesecakes had something special.”
It costs $15 to enter the hummus competition, with all fees going to Caring Mums:
The hummus competition will be held from 2-3.30pm in the Nosh Tent which is where festival-goers can also see demonstrations of Indian Jewish cooking by Esther and Ken Daniels, Rebecca Joseph and Ronny Judah. They’ll be joined by Linda Weidenfeld cooking vegetarian food Mish Arndt baking Irish bread.
Hummus is popular right across the Middle East. It is a common part of everyday meals in Israel. One reason for its popularity in Israel is that it is made from ingredients that, following Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), can be combined with both meat and dairy meals. Both Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs relish the dish.
In 2012, Australian filmmaker Trevor Graham released a documentary, Make Hummus Not War, on the political and gastronomic aspects of hummus.
According to ‘Spoon University’, hummus is also rumoured to be an aphrodisiac.
The In One Voice Jewish street festival is presented by the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library and SKIF.