Amy Zitelman takes tahini, a ground sesame paste used in making hummus, to the next level in her new cookbook, The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal. Zitelman, CEO of Soom, a Philadelphia-based company that makes tahini products, is part of the ever expanding hummus craze. You don’t have to think that far back to remember when hummus, the Arabic word for chickpeas, was just a plain Middle Eastern chickpea dip usually served with warm pita bread. Now hummus, whose historic roots go back to 13th-century Egypt where the climate and soil are just right for growing chickpeas, comes in over 20 flavors such as beet, roasted red pepper, basil tomato and chipotle.
Zitelman’s goal is to make tahini with its ancient roots a favorite of American home cooks. If that sounds far-fetched, consider the increasing popularity for condiments such as Tabasco, Sriracha and pesto as well as a variety of flavored mayonnaise, barbecue sauces and mustards. “The world hummus market, according to Market Research Future, is forecast to grow at a rate of nearly 13 percent per year until 2027. That’s a lot of chickpeas. But Zitelman, who founded Soom Foods with her sisters Shelby and Jackie, wants it to be more than an ingredient for just one single dish no matter how popular it is.”
Founded by sisters Amy Zitelman, Shelby Zitelman and Jaclyn Horvitz, Soom offers a range of tahini, a roasted sesame paste pressed from single-sourced Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds, available in jars and single-serve squeeze packs. Photo courtesy https://soomfoods.com/pages/our-story
“The three sisters formed Soom after a trip to Israel where they tasted a carrot cake made by Jackie’s mother-in-law. It was so delicious that they wanted to make it back home in the U.S. but couldn’t find the type of tahini needed. Since then, Zitelman has been named to Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” class of 2018 and their products featured in The New York Times and food magazines such as Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. Soom specializes in tahini products such as their single source origin premium tahini and Soom Chocolate Sweet Tahini though they’ve also added another Middle Eastern ingredient — Silan Date Syrup — a natural sweetener made exclusively with dates from the Jordan Valley. They source their sesame seeds from the Humera region of Ethiopia that is considered the prime place to grow them.”
Tahini Chicken Schnitzel