Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Secret of Hummus

A guest post by Sarah's sister, Rivka.

So my husband, Luiz, went to Israel on a business trip with a group of co-workers. One day, before lunchtime, one of the co-workers -- an Israeli man who works full-time in the company's Israeli office -- asks my husband if he and the rest of the group want to try a new place for lunch. "It's pretty far away," the co-worker says, "but it's worth it." My husband thinks, "sure, why not," and he and the rest of the group hop in the car.

On the way, this Israeli co-worker tells my husband the story about the place they're going to: It's run by a guy named Gingi. Years ago, Gingi was unhappy with his life. He decided that what he really wanted to do was make Hummus. So he traveled Israel for many years, working in different restaurants, trying to discover the secret of good Hummus. After he decided that he had found the secret to Hummus, he opened up a restaurant that sold nothing but Hummus, and things that went with Hummus (like pita, pickles, things like that).

The restaurant was very successful. But after a few years, Gingi became unhappy again. He was still not living the life he wanted. So he decided that if he can make good Hummus, people will come to him for the Hummus. The Hummus does not have to go to the people. So he found a kibbutz in the middle of nowhere that agreed that he could live on the kibbutz and open his "restaurant." They gave him a small building (more like a shed) to make his food, and everyday people came and ordered Hummus plates.

The thing is, the co-worker explained, Gingi only makes his Hummus until 1:30 pm precisely. At 1:30 on the dot, Gingi is out the door, and he leaves it for his helpers to serve any remaining Hummus and clean up.

At this point, my husband and his co-workers had arrived at Gingi's "restaurant." It was now a few minutes after one o'clock. They ordered their Hummus plates, and sat down to eat.

(Was it really good? I asked my husband at this point. It was Hummus, he replied. With pita. And beans.)

At 1:30, Gingi comes out of the kitchen.

"Gingi!" my husband's Israeli co-worker yells. "Come say hello! I want you to meet my friends from America!"

Gingi looks at his watch, walks past them, and heads to his little motor-bike parked outside.


Gingi looks at his watch again, looks at the co-worker, and without saying a word, rides away.

The thing is, we have told this story to many people. The Americans always think the story is hysterical. The Israelis, on the other hand, find Gingi to be a very wise man, and don't understand why the story is so funny.

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