Like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, or pancakes and syrup, chips and dip are perfect partners.
And they’re perfect whether you’re cheering for your team during the World Baseball Classic or March Madness, binge-watching a favorite show, playing poker or video games, working on a jigsaw puzzle, or pulling an all-nighter during mid-terms.
Sometimes, you just want a little something to nosh on. You want chips and dip.
There are so many different variations to choose from, you could never, ever get bored with this snack. Chips are crunchy and crispy. Dips can be cool and creamy or hot — both in terms of temperature and spice — and hearty. They can also be lighter, like salsa based on vegetables and fruits.
Let’s dip into the history of this food phenomenon, shall we?
According to food writer and historian Gary Allen, in an essay for the award-winning site Leite’s Culinaria (leitesculinaria.com), Fannie Farmer’s 1947 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book included a dip-like Mayonnaise Cocktail Bowl: “a bowl of mayonnaise, flavored with mustard or Worcestershire sauce and surrounded by raw cauliflower florets, canned artichoke hearts, cooked or canned asparagus tips, cooked or canned shrimp, even lobster pieces.”
The word “dip” was first used to describe the dish in print in 1960 with an entire smorgasbord of different varieties having become ubiquitous by that time. Mr. Allen writes that this came after the rise in popularity of potato chips once the mechanical potato peeler made mass production possible, with traveling salesman Herman Lay becoming one of the snack’s earliest proponents in the 1940s.
Still earlier, in 1932, Elmer Doolin dipped a toe into the new snack sensation pool when he introduced Fritos — the Spanish word for “fried” with an s added to it — to the market. (In 1961, the companies founded by Mr. Lay and Mr. Doolin merged to form Frito-Lay.)
And yet another factor came into play in the chips-’n’-dips saga, Mr. Allen wrote: “By 1952, the Lipton Company had pushed its instant soup business to its probable limit. If the business was to grow, new uses for its products had to be found. The company experimentally launched a campaign that taught people to combine their undiluted dried soup mix with sour cream. While the new-fangled mixture could have been used with crudités ... the combination of the cool, tangy dip with crisp and salty chips was too perfect to be ignored.”
With television making its grand entrance into homes by the mid-20th century, and viewers watching shows while eating casual foods, the perfect confluence of circumstances had occurred. “Chips, fortuitously, served as both eating utensil and complement for the new-fangled dips, almost perfectly suiting the needs of the emergent couch-potato class,” wrote Mr. Allen.
We’ve all dipped into the familiar favorites: the aforementioned potato chips with onion dip, tortilla chips with ooey, gooey cheese, or hummus with pita chips.
And there are countless variations on these themes, from dill pickle-flavored potato chips to chips made of blue corn, from queso con carne to seven-layer dip, and from chickpea-based hummus infused with roasted garlic to varieties made with white beans or even black-eyed peas.
You could make your own chips, certainly, whether frying up some wafer-thin potato slices or baking pita triangles until they’re crisp and crunchy.
But frankly, there are so very many different chips on the market — made from breads, vegetables, pretzels, plantains, lentils, and more — that it seems preferable to buy the dippers. Then you can dedicate yourself to whipping up an entire buffet table’s worth of dips.
Because there is a specially designated day for virtually every food, National Chips and Dip Day comes on Thursday, according to the site foodimentary.com, which keeps track of these important occasions. So we’ve got a few suggestions for your celebration.
Parmesan Sour Cream Dip is a simple, savory, salty sensation, ideally suited to black pepper-sprinkled chips.
Spicy Bacon Spinach Artichoke Dip adds an extra boost of flavor — from both bacon and cayenne — to the classic creamy concoction.
Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese Dip takes all the goodies from the beloved bagel — toasted sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, and onion — and stirs them into the cream cheese. Bagel chips, of course, are the mandatory dippers.
Adjika (Sochi salsa) shares some of the same ingredients with Mexican-style salsa but brings some different tastes to the table. Jalapeños and cilantro are present in both versions, while this Russian one (from the city of Sochi, on the Black Sea) also incorporates celery, basil, and dill for a bright, herbal influence.
And finally, for a sweet change of pace, Cannoli Dip is simply a deconstructed cannolo. Rather than stuffing chocolate-and-orange enhanced ricotta cheese into crisp, tubular shells, instead just dunk cinnamon-coated pita chips into the dip. All of the flavor, virtually none of the work.
Any occasion is a perfect one for chips and dip. Don’t wait for an honorary holiday to dip into this craveable classic.
Parmesan Sour Cream Dip
1 16-ounce container reduced-fat sour cream
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper potato chips, for serving
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Serve with potato chips.
Yield: 2 cups
Source: Adapted from Gina Neely and Pat Neely, foodnetwork.com
Spicy Bacon Spinach Artichoke Dip
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
One 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
One 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Vegetable, pita, bagel, potato, or other chips, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a pie plate or a small casserole dish.
Carefully squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach and set aside.
Microwave the cream cheese for 1 minute. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cayenne, and garlic powder in a large bowl and blend together well. Add the spinach, bacon, artichoke hearts, and both cheeses. Stir all the ingredients together until everything is well combined.
Spread the mixture out in the pie plate or casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly browned on top.
Serve hot with chips.
Yield: 5 cups
Source: Adapted from Alice Currah, cookingchanneltv.com
Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese Dip
1/8 cup poppy seeds
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup dried minced onion
1/8 cup dried minced garlic
1/2 pound reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 5.3-ounce containers nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Pinch of kosher salt
Bagel chips, for serving
Lightly toast the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, minced onion, and minced garlic in a small skillet over low heat just until fragrant.
Place the cream cheese, yogurt, and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and well-combined. Stir in the toasted seed mixture until well mixed.
Place into a covered container and refrigerator overnight for the flavors to develop before serving with bagel chips.
Yield: 2 cups
Source: Adapted from arismenu.com
Adjika (Sochi Salsa)
1 large red bell pepper
4 jalapeño peppers, red or green, stemmed and seeded
4 cloves garlic
1 large stalk celery
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro, including tender stems
3/4 cup firmly packed fresh basil
3/4 cup firmly packed fresh dill, including tender stems
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
Corn chips, for serving
Coarsely chop bell pepper, jalapeños, and garlic. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Coarsely chop celery (including any leaves), cilantro, basil, and dill. Add to the food processor along with vinegar, coriander, and salt; pulse until finely chopped but not smooth — the salsa should still have some texture.
Transfer to the bowl with the pepper mixture; stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to meld before serving with corn chips.
Yield: 2 cups
Source: Adapted from eatingwell.com
1 15-ounce container reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated peel from 1 orange
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Cinnamon pita chips, for serving
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, orange peel, and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, for flavors to blend.
Serve with the cinnamon pita chips.
Yield: 2 cups
Source: Mary Bilyeu
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