The hip and trendy are all a’churn about hummus milkshakes of late. Yes, as in liquid chickpeas. You haven’t heard about this new, food phenomenon? My, my, where have you beeaan?
Hummus is great. It does everything you want from a Lebanese dip. It’s simple. It’s versatile. It’s moreish and it dances the dance of nutty and filling, yet light and zesty with agile, unassuming elegance.
And milkshakes are great. They might still be reeling from their public ousting for all our dairy-rooted phlegm issues, but all manner of nut milk substitutes and frozen bananas have brought them, at least conceptually, back into our good graces. Plus, they have that overtly 1950s, rock-around-the-clock, diner vibe about them.
So, by all accounts this new culinary marriage should be celebrated, no?
If your brain is fizzing just a tad at the thought of this lemony, garlic dip now thinned out with nut juice and fobbed off in a tall glass as a dessert, let me clear that up for you. The hummus milkshake doesn’t contain hummus. This shake mixture leans sweet. Check out the ingredients!
It’s the terminology that’s tripping you up. But you know how viral food trends are born. (Where is that strange factory by the way? I imagine it to be a Willy Wonka-esque land where Dr Seuss, Eddie Izzard and that guy from the SquattyPotty commerical all sit around a giant, edible but slightly suspect mushroom dreaming up the latest WTF food moment to distract us from things like fraudulent politics and filthy plastics). But I digress. I was pointing out that food trends aren’t always literal. Their nom de plume often piggy-backs on all the fancy words most likely to make you c-ooooh with intrigue while coaxing just a smidge of dubiousness. “OMG, that sounds disgusting, I HAVE to try it” they say, careening their necks from the back of the line.
Apparently this food trend came about from the insatiable desire for cookie dough cravings, but now it’s guilt-free and healthy too. The shake is basically made from drained chickpeas, tahini, almond milk, dates and bananas. Doesn’t sound bad at all.
But while the foodie world is buzzing with how great this ‘hummus milkshake’ is, it’s causing a flurry of a different kind for me. We’re a fast moving, fast living and fast fooding society. And by that I don’t mean the burger-and-chips-through-your-car-window definition. I mean our understanding of ‘food’ is developing fast. Fast, fast, fast. Fast innovating and fast adapting too.
With everyone clamouring to be the creator of the ‘next new thing’, I wonder if we’ve become too easily titillated by saucy catchphrases, and dare I say blasé towards the good food that got us here. Which is why cookie dough can’t remain a naughty mid-night snack. And hummus isn’t enough as the delicious dip. And milkshakes can’t just be the stuff strawberry, chocolate and vanilla dreams are made of.
After all, it wasn’t pitched as ‘the chickpea smoothie – the drink with malty flavour, low in calories, packed with plant proteins, fibre, iron, folate and all that other good health jazz we just can’t get enough. Which is actually what it is. A smoothie.
But smoothies aren’t sexy anymore. Not even in bowls. And chickpeas sounds too ordinary. So, now it has to be glorified as a ‘hummus milkshake’ in order for anyone to actually take note. Well, I did. And here’s what I realised. I like my rare milkshake hangovers, a reminder of a night of indulgence and colouring outside the “clean-eating” food lines. And I like my hummus on a mezze platter, not the drinks menu.
In my mind, the best kind of food is the kind that wins you over with its honesty. Good food shouldn’t have to get your attention dressed up as something it’s not in a desperate attempt to be your next highly Instagrammable flavour of the week. The chickpea smoothie is actually a great idea. Our tendency to be more taken with the label than its contents, however, is a fad I hope dies out sooner rather than later.
What are your thoughts on viral food trends? TELL us in the comments below.