Out of (and into) the mouths of babes…

Hummus was Luca’s first word, and suddenly I knew that I was changing the eating habits of the world – one child at a time.  I became extremely interested in observing how parents affect their children’s eating habits during my countless hours of babysitting.  With all of the fun that I have with the children, whether it is reading Good Night Moon to making both snakes and necklaces out of Play-Doh, I’ve also been a keen observer of how food is presented and consumed in the household. I have been both shocked and exhilarated by some of the things that I’ve seen, but one thing will forever remain with me and that was hearing Luca’s first spoken word – hummus.  I was enamored that he was barely two and already knew what hummus was as I was unaware of this healthy alternative until my college years, despite the fact that I had been a vegetarian for almost a decade.  Luca learned this word because his parents were exposing him to new foods on a daily basis: Foods that most people who have deemed ‘weird’ or ‘eclectic’ ten years ago.  However, Luca’s parents were setting a positive parental example for him.  His parents and I,  unknowing as we were, were role modeling.  Research dating back to the 70s, has shown that children tend to model their eating habits off of their parents and other adults.   It was because of Luca and his family that I am now a Ph.D. student at the Pennsylvania State University and studying the parental food consumption effects on children’s food consumption.

So in thinking of Luca and his love for hummus, I wanted to share a recipe with you:
Luca’s Cauliflower Hummus

1 small head of cauliflower

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas

1 lemon

1 1/2 Tbsp. paprika



Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic

1. Bring a pot of cold water and cauliflower to a boil and simmer until cauliflower is fork tender (about 10 minutes of simmering).

2. Cut up the cauliflower into chunks and process it in a food processor with garlic. Add a little olive oil to help it along. Add the chickpeas and process that, adding olive oil if needed. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your food processor.

3. Empty contents into a bowl, squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon, add salt and pepper to taste, and add paprika. You can add more paprika until you get a taste that you enjoy.

4. Options: Try blanching Swiss chard, pickled beats, jalapenos, parsley or really anything that you can think of to spice this dish up.

5.  The hummus works well on bread, bagels, in wraps or with vegetables.

*Please note that this hummus is a bit runnier than regular hummus due to the water content of the cauliflower.

Luca, Miss Aimee and Liam after a fun afternoon of ‘sweeping’ the yard


Written by Aimee M. Gallagher

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