Every Sunday, Ruth Thomas cooks a family dinner. Her kitchen is packed with relatives—four generations come to eat. And nine-out-of-10 times, Thomas prepares the appetizer the family loves—hummus.
When Ruth’s daughter Kathy Broha was growing up, the healthy Lebanese dip wasn’t exactly the must-have item it has become in the last decade.
Last year, Broha had some time on her hands and started taking the steps to bring her mother’s recipe to more Baton Rouge households.
Now, Broha is creating hummus from her mother’s original recipe and packaging it as Ruth’s Hummus, the first in a line from her company Ruth’s Recipes.
Unlike bigger brand names, this hummus is right out of the Red Stick and made from five simple ingredients—chickpeas, fresh lemons, garlic, tahini paste and extra virgin olive oil.
There are no flavor additives; it’s just the classic recipe the family has been making for a century and has lasted as they have traveled from Lebanon to the States.
“It’s what my parents grew up with in America, and what my grandparents had in the old country,” Broha says. “We’ve never changed it.”
It did take some coaxing on Broha’s part to get the recipe from her 84-year-old mother, she says.
“It was always, ‘Well, you put this much garlic until your hand can’t close…,'” she says. “A year ago, I started making it myself. I had never made it because we always went to my mom’s house to get it. Every time she would make it for other people, [they would say] ‘Oh gosh, this is the best thing I ever had.’ Now, everyone knows what hummus is. Growing up, the kids would say, ‘This is so good, you should bottle it or package it.'”
After reading about LSU AgCenter’s food incubator program last year, Broha and her daughter, Ashley, went to see if their product could be made in the center’s kitchen. When Gaye Sandoz, coordinator of the food incubator program, tasted it, Broha got the reaction she wanted.
“[Gaye] tasted it and loved it,” she says. “That’s when I decided I would try it. They have the kitchen equipment and made it possible to try this out.”
Broha is her toughest critic, and she wants the hummus to be perfect. She says she’s currently perfecting the recipe so a batch can be multiplied and shipped to stores. However, she is keeping the work in the family. Her son, Jason, has been working on the promotional materials.
“[Ruth] was in the kitchen with me just yesterday,” Broha says. “She thinks it’s great that we’re doing it. She’s proud.”
Ruth’s Hummus is now available at Calvin’s Bocage Market (Map it!), Calandro’s on Perkins Road (Map it!), LeBlanc’s on Airline Highway in Gonzales (Map it!) and A-Z International Food Stores on Old Jefferson Highway (Map it!). For more information, visit ruthsrecipes.net. —Matthew Sigur