Whenever I host a party for friends and family, I put a lot of thought into what kind of a party I want to have. After all, if your're going to go to all of the trouble and expense, you want it to be memorable and fulfilling for everyone attending. Theme parties - cooking food and decorating the house to match a season or holiday or perhaps a particular kind of cuisine - are really popular. So, I decided to have a “dip” party! There are so many wonderful dip recipes, many of them are easy to prepare and some are as hearty as eating a meal. To cut down on expense and preparation time, I asked all my guests to bring their favorite, handmade dip to add to our festive, delicious party.
I'm a history buff so I decided to do a little research to find out the origin of dips. While doing my research, I learned that National Chip and Dip Day is March 23! Dips are commonly used for finger foods, appetizers, and other easily held foods. Thick dips with sour cream, creme fraiche, milk, yogurt, mayonnnaise, soft cheese, or beans are a staple of American hors d'oeuvres.
The History of Dips
Date of Origin Old English [OE]
Like deep, dip comes ultimately from a Germanic base *d(e)up- ‘deep, hollow’. The derived verb, *dupjan, produced Old English dyppan, ancestor of modern English dip. It originally meant quite specifically ‘immerse’ in Old English, sometimes with reference to baptism; the sense ‘incline downwards’ is a 17th-century development.
French Onion as a flavor emerged in the 17th century. Sour cream was invented in the U.S. between 1815 – 1825. Somewhere around there, the first dip as we know it must have come into being. No one has laid claim to that distinction, but if we were around then, we surely would have!
Many cuisine-related sources claim that hummus is one of the oldest known prepared foods in the Middle East. Some say it was made in the 18th-century Damascus while others claimed that it was first prepared in the 12th century by Saladin. Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas and is mixed with garlic, vinegar and sometimes lemon juice. The Egyptians ate chickpeas, so maybe even Moses ate “dip”!
Here are some other fun facts:
- The potato chip was first invented in 1853.
- Dips for chips first become popular in the 1950s serving as finger food.
- Choices of chips to go with tips can be tortilla chips, potato chips, or pretzels.
- It takes 10,000 pounds of potatoes to make 3,500 pounds of potato chips.
- Dips are salsa, guacamole, cheese, hummus, olive dip – anything can be made into a dip.
Here are two of my favorite dips that wowed my family and friends at that party.
Spicy Taco Cheese Dip
Makes 8-10 servings
1 lb ground beef, or ground pork or turkey - cooked and fat drained
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly shredded monterey jack cheese
10 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles), drained
1 jalapeno pepper, remove seeds and dice finely
1 pablano pepper, remove seed and dice finely
/2 cup sour cream
- In a large saute pan, cook the ground beef/pork or turkey. Add diced peppers and saute until peppers have softened. Drain the fat. Add the drained can of Rotel to the pan with the cream cheese. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until cream cheese has melted. Combine with the ground meat/pepper mixture, chili powder, salt, taco seasoning. Stir in the shredded cheeses, sour cream and pour into a baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until melted and bubbly. Serve with tortillas chips or crackers.
This dip is super easy and hearty and can be made in under 30 minutes.
Sriracha Crab Dip
Makes 8 -10 servings
3/4 lb crab meat, cut into small pieces or shredded (you can also use canned crab meat)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1 finely diced jalapeno, discard seeds
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
2/3 cup mayo
1 8 oz block of cream cheese
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you want it
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
Crackers for serving
- In a large bowl, add crab meat, diced red onion, celery, jalapeño, red pepper and green onion. Add the mayo, cream cheese, sour cream, Old Bay and Sriracha sauce, mix throughly. Taste for seasoning and spiciness.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Let cool and chill for several hours to develop flavors.
- Serve with crackers.
This is best prepared 4 hours before the party or even made the day before. It can be served hot or cold.
If you are interested in learning how to make more fun, seasonal dips (like this Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dip) don't miss The Chopping Block's upcoming Spring Fling cooking class which features a different take on hummus and a healthy version of chips: Sweet Pea Hummus with Radish "Chips", Sugar Snap Peas and Pita Chips.
Learn how to make Chipotle Guacamole in Grilling Fiesta, one of our very first grilling classes on our outdoor grilling patio at Lincoln Square. See what other grilling classes we have coming up in April!