Discover more from Listening in the Dark with Amber Tamblyn
To All the Dips I’ve Loved Before
The world is on fire and capitalism is destroying everything. Let’s talk dips.
UPDATE: After being thoroughly dragged to hell and back by my in-laws in the comments section here for forgetting my sis-in-law Wendy’s iconic smoked oyster dip, I’ve updated this article with the recipe.
I hope this finds your existential and global apocalypse going well.
Last month, the Canadian wildfires raged on as smoke returned to haunt the lungs of New Yorkers, Phoenix hit its record-breaking thirtieth straight day of abominable heat above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and an entertainment industry revolution grew as labor unions continued their fight against once-implausible threats (including robots taking over the world).
There was also DeSantis’ pathetic political pivot, that whole former-military-officials-confirm-aliens-are-real thing, and the scary question of what we’re supposed to do with our unruly emotions surrounding climate change. With all this going on, naturally my first thought was, let’s talk about dips. So please join me for a brief reprieve from the chaos to dive into our favorite summer food dips and what, exactly, we like to dip our dips with. Let’s get into it, as food influencers like to say.
I love a good dip: a creamy dip, a salsa dip, a gooey dip, a cheesy dip. Morning, noon and night—when you dip, I dip, we dip. One of my favorites is the spinach artichoke dip from Costco which is a tub of real artichoke chunks and well-seasoned “fixins,” as my southern husband likes to say. My sister, China, makes the best guacamole I’ve ever had thanks to a recipe passed down to her by her Mexican mother-in-law and my sister-in-law Wendy is essentially a Dip Master, making all different kinds of dips for their annual Thanksgiving party including a smoked oyster dip that’s to live for. I will also trade any five-star appetizer for a killer baba ghanoush, and if queso is on the menu, it’s going in my mouth.
There are also dip combinations I’m not proud of but will defend with every fiber of my being. If you need to unsubscribe from this newsletter because of what I’m about to say, I understand. My husband, a fellow dip enthusiast who fell in love with me over pub cheese, may even question his decision to marry me upon reading this. And to that I say, you all can have each other!
Dip combinations I am willing to defend in hand-to-hand combat:
Pizza bites dipped in ranch, America’s favorite dressing. (Sorry, it’s a fact. I don’t make the rules.)
Lil smokies (AKA smoked cocktail hot dogs) dipped in melted grape jelly and Sriracha. Don’t @ me.
Cottage cheese, scallions, and hot sauce mixed together with chips or celery to dip.
To be clear, I don’t eat these kinds of dips on the regular, nor could I. I’m forty. These kinds of dips are for the intestines of the young. But if someone* brings them to a party, I will partake. That is a promise. *I’m the one who brought them to the party.
I am also not mad at healthy dips: a fresh pico de gallo, a veggie dip, or, on occasion, a beet hummus. Dips are something that lessen our anxiety around a first date or a party where you don’t know anyone. They are a reason to stay and talk and eat right where you are. They are the water cooler of parties, if you will. They are a masterful and sneaky way to encourage a reduced-anxiety type of gathering—slightly less intense than a sit-down dinner but slightly more invested than grabbing apps from a passing tray. Dips are a go-between in an in-between world.
So let me just end by saying, if you haven’t gathered from the above paragraphs: I really love dips. They make me happy. They make me feel like I’m at a backyard grill out in the ’90s, and the only thing we have to worry about is George Bush.
Here are some of my absolute favorite recipes—including my sister’s mother-in-law’s guacamole—and a few others I found that I can’t wait to try. Please, I beg of you, share your dip recipes in the comments! Links, favorite dip and dippable item combos, and any from-the-vault recipes passed down through your family (if the ancestors will allow it).
My favorite guacamole recipe via China Tamblyn:
1 whole lime
A little finely chopped red onion
Finely chopped parsley
1/2 a clove of garlic, minced
1 spoonful of sour cream
1 spoonful of pico de gallo
Salt to taste
My sister-in-law Wendy’s famous smoked oyster dip:
2 packs of cream cheese
6 tins of smoked oysters, oil and all
1 can of chopped black olives
Juice of 1 lemon
Half a grated onion
A couple dashes of hot sauce
Salt and pepper toste
Spinach artichoke dip
Caramelized onion and mushroom dip
Pimento f’ing cheese dip
Fuck capitalism dip
Support union workers on strike dip
Getting your annual cancer screening tit dip
White cheddar, roasted garlic, and Sriracha dip
Very good hummus
Pico de gallo
Happy dipping. And as my grandfather, Alexander Murray, used to always say: “Cheer up, it’ll get worse.”