If you have regularly wined or dined in any US metropolis within the last decade you can testify that hummus has boomed. Just a few years back no one would eat it (and few could pronounce it), let alone sing the praises of hummus. The texture was akin to guacamole. The purpose was lost. I think its really just dip for fat girls. But it doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Because like it or not, hummus is here to stay. It won’t be long until its being served on your kids cafeteria tray. All of this is due to the guy they call Oscar.
Oscar “the Grouch” was born in a ghetto in post world war 2 germany. His family left before the city was rebuilt and settled in Staten Island. It was here that he developed his love for mediterranean cuisine and injected himself into the Jewish culinary community. His first restaraunt, Grouchies, was a famous landmark of his Parkview neighborhood (before the blacks moved in) and still stands to this day (under new management). In the kitchen, he began to experiment with a breakfast combo that would shake up the Jewish chewing collective in SINY.
One Bagel. One Hummus. One Coffee.
With this basic marketing strategy, he was able to focus wholeheartedly on his hummus and within a few years, his delectable creations were known throughout the five boroughs, with whisperings in Jersey. Now, his restaurant was the world famous Grouchies and he was known as Oscar the Hummus man. He packaged hummus and shipped it west to synagogues and temples across the country. It trickled from the Jewish community into the gay population at uptown NY open houses and artsy fartsy events. The gays spread it to the world. Lines of people stood outside of grocery stores on the eves of Oscar’s brand coming to their shelves. He was a hit. And so was hummus. If you asked Oscar, he would say he knew it was going to be big. But Oscar didn’t know hummus was to be the cause of his death.
“You know, its about time we pay Oscar a visit. His shares ain’t coming up like they used to.”
“Yeah, I knows but you gots ta understand. Oscar is the man out here. He’s put a lot of good people in great positions. His thing has given people a reason to sing,” the goon said.
“I mean I get that, but that’s history. Hd gotta pay his dues to. Nobody, and I mean nobody gets by their dues. He owe’s 20% times 30 and interest. Pay up time is here. And he’s gonna show us his books.”
Oscar didn’t have much when he started Grouchies. He came to America with nothing and his parents gave him nothing when they passed. He did have friends however. And his friends were sure to loan him start up money for his restaurant. But Oscar was cheap. And even when his restaurant boomed, he refused to live up to his end of the bargain. “All I need is 50,000. I’ll give you that and 20% each year if you can help me with this favor.” He remembers his plea to the godfather like it was yesterday.
In the eve of the new year, which would be the 31st for Grouchies, Oscar slept in his favorite chair while the goons acted on their conspiracy and slit the Hummus man’s throat.
The funeral was reserved. His honor was not tarnished by the way he exited the world. He will always be the hummus man.
As for his hummus brand, well that’s another story. The mob took control of it and ransacked the funds before they decided to torch the product facilities. Within a year of the failure of the business, no one remembered Grouchies brand hummus. He and his style on hummus opened unfathomable markets for guap. Now subpar brands replaced his package on supermarket shelfs, with their spices added to make it taste more tex mex or more like sour cream. The hummus game changed.
Somewhere, you’ll still see a can or bucket of Oscar’s hummus paste. Maybe some kid uses it for a cereal bowl, or some drug dealer mixes meth in it, but they are everywhere. When you see one, remember this story.