Homemade Pita Chips

I devour books whole, swallowing them in one mouthful. Most people take in books slowly, savoring them page by page, drawing out the stories over the span of days and weeks as they pick them up for an occasional hello. Some days I wish of a world where stories could travel farther through time, the sentences stretching over hours instead of seconds. My impulsive nature dictates otherwise; falling hard and fast for a narrative, it refuses to put it down until the final page has been turned. I wish I could make the stories last longer. I wish, in so many ways, they would never end.

They always do, they must, but there is an endless supply reaching out to take the next place.

When I pick up a book, I expose my soul to it, allowing it into my most vulnerable and unguarded corners in a way I struggle to do with people. I live vicariously through the characters, experiencing their highs and lows, swept up in the journey of self-discovery. Even so, the end of a good book jars me. My heart is so consumed with emotion and the story told that I find it difficult to adjust back to reality for a moment. I want to share this experience with those around me. I want them to feel as I do in that instant, somehow both shattered and whole. Instead I keep the quiet moment to myself and pass the book along to them, hoping they will find the same experiences as I did.

Last weekend, on a long car ride back from the mountains, I picked up Cheryl Strayed's Wild. My eyes were glued to the page as Cheryl took me through her journey. While I wish to speak about this book in great detail, it is simpler to tell you that there are many books worth reading and this is one of them. And so, I pass the book on to you.

Just as I have a fondness to revisit favorite books, I like to do the same with recipes. While many recipes can stand alone, I like to give a few of them a bit of a tweak now and then, to steer the recipe on a new course of its own.

When I found myself with more pita bread than a lone woman should eat, I cut it into slices, spiced it, and baked it until crisp. As I dipped my fresh pita chips into a bowl of hummus and paged through a magazine, I wondered whether the experience of eating a good dish was similar to reading a good book. Food takes me through a journey of the senses, of memories, of nostalgia, and, in a few instances, of self-discovery. While most foods and flavors I enjoy are a part of the everyday scene, there are a few that stick out in my mind. As great books, these recipes have carved a place in my heart. I find myself longing for more after the last bite is gone, grateful for the experience, wishing I could share the moment with you.

And, thankfully, I can.

Homemade Pita Chips are spicy, addictive, and perfect for snacking. Pita bread is brushed with a layer of oil, cumin, and chili powder, sprinkled with salt, and sliced into bite-sized pieces. The chips emerge from the oven browned and crispy, ready to be dipped into a bowl full of humus. While I used homemade pita bread for this recipe, store bought pitas will work just as well. A fair warning, however: you may find it difficult to share.

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Pita Bread

4 pita bread pockets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder. Brush the pita slices with the oil mixture and slice each pita into 8 equal pieces with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Place on baking sheet and sprinkle salt over the chips. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Serve warm or room temperature with hummus or left plain.