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Sad but true: I’m not much of a cook. Not that the food I make is inedible — in fact, when I do take the time to cook, the meals come out quite tasty, thank you very much.

It’s just that I’ve never really enjoyed cooking. The prep, the process, the cleanup: It feels like a lot of work.

So I’d usually resort to cooking from boxed or frozen meals. Of course, those are often packed with sodium, preservatives, soy, gluten, and unintelligible ingredients that researchers are linking to everything from weight gain to headaches to tumors in mice. (Read more about food preservatives in “Scary Food Science.” It includes one of our most-shared sections, “Anatomy of a Chicken Nugget.” It’s also one of the first stories I worked on as a fact-checker at Experience Life, and I found the research very disturbing, prompting me to cut out most packaged food in favor of fresh food.) If you find an additive or preservative you don’t recognize on a food label, look it up in the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s database.

But cooking fresh does take some time — until you start to get in a rhythm.

The kitchen at our old home was a decent size, but not the most conducive to cooking. I could never quite figure out how to maximize the space. Our new kitchen begs to be used, and I’ve found myself cooking from scratch more often.

And I’m actually enjoying cooking for once in my life.

My latest and greatest from-scratch meal is a hummus recipe I discovered and modified. We had dinner guests on Friday night, so I decided to whip up some hummus. I usually buy it at the store, but just haven’t been as excited to pull back the wrapper and eat it, so many a hummus has been sadly wasted in our house.

This recipe made me want to eat it by the spoonful.

I just Googled “hummus recipe without tahini,” since I didn’t have any in the pantry, and found this one from Saad Fayed on

hummus and veggies
1 can garbanzo beans (look for brands, like Eden Organic, that say “BPA-free,” since most cans are lined with the synthetic compound)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 clove garlic*

3 sprigs thyme (or more)*

*These were my additions to the recipe that worked really well.

It was super easy and super yummy. This batch gave me about 2 cups, and lasts about three to four days (as long as you don’t eat it all first!). Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate the unused portions until you’re ready to snack again.

I’m also thinking of trying it with sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.

If you try it with modifications, let me know in the comments below. Enjoy!

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