Ever since Mr. Henry began working from home, lunch has become his special repast, a delightful and often solitary communion with leftovers and a laptop.
In winter he usually applies heat to whatever he finds resting in the refrigerator but from spring through autumn lunches are eaten cold. Indeed, many foods taste better cold or at room temperature. Italian antipasti served under olive oil aptly illustrate this principle.
Whether eating cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, potatoes, lentils, cucumbers, lettuce, olives or bread, there is one magical preparation that seems to transform each into a fulfilling experience – hummus.
A preparation of ground chick peas with tahini, hummus surely dates to prehistory. In the Middle East both chick peas and sesame were cultivated as early as 10,000 BC.
Did Eve prepare hummus for Adam and the boys? Alas, her recipes don’t survive.
Native to India, cucumbers are mentioned in the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.
Wandering in the desert the Hebrews sent forth lamentations for chick peas and leeks so abundant back in Egypt.
A certain degree of imagination is required to believe that the Garden of Eden was once located in Iraq, yet surely pockets of beauty remain. Have you ever tasted dates from Basra? The salty, sandy soil of southern Iraq yields the most flavorful date.
When you pour a dollop of olive oil on feta cheese does your imagination not stray back to classical Athens, an empire built on the exportation of olive oil?
Mr. Henry eats the food of the ancients. Moreover, when he cooks he usually reaches for an iron skillet probably indistinct from ones forged by the Hittites late in the second millennium BC. Sic transit gloria mundi.