August 17, 2004
Lileks Eats Dirt!

In today's Bleat, James Lileks wrote:

Buying things makes me happy. I go to the store, I buy humus, I come home, eat the humus: I am happy. You could say itís the eating, not the buying, that makes me happy; perhaps. But the fact that I can buy the humus instead of make My Woman spend all day slaving over . . . over . . . a hot humus maker, whatever, makes me happy. And itís not just plain humus the store sells Ė they have ten varieties from two different companies, each chasing that narrow slice of discriminating humus-client who is willing to take a chance on the new humus with lime and basil. I have more humus options than a 19th century Turkish sultan.

Someone must have tipped him off, or perhaps he reread the piece after a good night's sleep, but he has now corrected the paragraph to read 'hummus' instead of 'humus' throughout.

Quite rightly, too. Although gives 'humus' as one possible spelling for the tasty chickpea dip, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary lists only 'hummus', 'hoummos', 'houmous', and 'humous'. Since 'humus' (pronounced HYOO-mus) is the only possible spelling -- it comes straight from Latin -- for "The organic constituent of soil, formed by the decomposition of plant materials" (SOED), it seems best not to spell 'hummus' that way, whatever may say. Especially not for those of us who read Lileks over breakfast.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at August 17, 2004 11:57 AM

It was bad enough encountering your verbatim extract over lunch...

Posted by: markm on August 20, 2004 12:24 PM

Now the light dawns. I thought the first comment on the following post, equating "ratatouille" and "mulch" was sardonic. It was just following Lileks' theme.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on August 23, 2004 03:44 PM

In Lileks' defense, that one has always tripped me up, and I am not a man who trips up litely! Er, lightly!

Posted by: Guy T. on August 24, 2004 11:02 PM