Eating has always been a puzzle to me. Mornings I don’t want anything but coffee. By the time afternoon comes I’m often ravenous. Ravenous me is not pleasant, or smart, or funny, or even rational. (Here is where a public apology comes to anyone who has ever been in a staff meeting with me before I ate…I’m sorry, I was a monster, if I had a time machine I’d go back and stick a banana with peanut butter in my face real quick.)
Peanut butter is the gateway dip. More of a smear, but same idea. Take one good thing, smother it in another good thing, and away we go.
Two flavors. Two textures. This is the minimum. This is why I’m not a fan of the omelette…it’s all too homogenous. (I said it! Wanna fight?)
Somewhere in the last few years, (probably in the stay-at-home time,) I finally cracked the code for when I’m hungry and a little lost. Four letters, infinite possibilities: DIPS. I could even call them Emergency Dips. (I’m an Oliver for those of you who, like me, related more to Only Murders in the Building than Sex in the City.)
Have you ever cooked a big meal, an all-day affair, Thanksgiving, or even just a birthday dinner for someone you love, and just before your guests are due to arrive you crash, hard, having cooked all day but eaten nothing? The despondent feeling of “WHY AM I PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS?” comes over you. You dread the doorbell. You might even totally blow the last few steps of the fabulous meal you planned.
I’m telling you, the answer to this and many of life’s questions: Dips. Grab a sleeve of crackers and three store bought tubs of dips, sit down for 10 minutes, and restore your faith in humanity and your loved ones. Or at least yourself.
When my brother died suddenly in August I could not even process what happened, much less think about food. I just wanted to be alone, in a ball, forever. Tiptoeing into my darkness, my beautiful friend Jody dropped off a gorgeous loaf of bread and three tubs of dips. Really good ones, Jody’s no slouch. Hummus, Baba Ganoush, and Muhammara from Mamnoon if I remember correctly.
Jody has been one of my Dear Ones since we were 12 years old. 30+ years of friendship means that she knew just the right note to hit. I remember her saying, “I just thought you probably wanted to rip into some bread and dip it in something.” CORRECT. It’s all I remember eating for a few days. It was comforting, and easy, and perfect.
When people are thrown into the deep end of grief it is so hard to know what to do. Take it from me – dips.
Where we are now.
My current everyday lineup, on hand for when I have skipped breakfast again and am on the verge of a toddler-style meltdown? (None of these are paid endorsements, although I am ABSOLUTELY open to an arrangement if anyone is offering. 😛 )
Ithaca Lemon Dill Hummus
Spinach Artichoke Bitchin’ Sauce (Although I had the Bombay at a party the other night and loved it. The hostess heard my ravings and strategically moved it in front of my chair like a domestic goddess of grace and I hoarded it all night.)
Trader Joe’s Vegan Buffalo Style Dip
And I always, always have a tub of the original San Juan Salsa. I count it as salad.
What do I have on hand to dip in there?
Here’s my local secret for those of you with a Metropolitan Market near you. The ONLY thing they have that is a deal, (seriously I think it’s the only thing under $5 they sell,) is their house brand pitas. So many come in a package that I have started storing them in the freezer and heating them up in the oven fast.
I also buy broccoli and cauliflower already cut and washed in the bag. I’m not ashamed.
(She said, totally ashamed.)
And though I usually go for them more as a late-night snack I am never without a bag of Juanita’s Tortilla Chips.
You may be wondering why there aren’t creamy cheesy things in this list…well, I basically bathed in sour cream for my twenties and thirties and now my middle-aged self has finally come to terms with the fact that it makes me ill. UGH WHAT A DRAG. So, yes, I am dairy free. Hanging on to gluten for dear life, and I’ve convinced myself that the occasional slice of American cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t count because it’s not…really cheese? But if you’re down with the cow get into some Labneh! That’s what I’d be doing if I could.
I’ve got a few dip recipes myself, the carrot top pesto for one, and also this recipe for Red Lentil Hummus which is really a guideline for cleaning out your pantry. I basically wing it in this video, one of my originals of Covid lockdown, but I’m tacking on a complete recipe below. You can’t really get it wrong.
Red Lentil Hummus
- Food Processor (A blender will work just as well.)
- 1 cup Red Lentils
- 2.5 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Salt
- Juice 1 Lemon
- 3 cloves Roasted Garlic
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- Add 1 cup Red Lentils to 2.5 Cups Water and 1 Tablespoon Salt in a small pot1 cup Red Lentils, 2.5 cup Water, 2 tbsp Salt
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce to simmer
- Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until lentils are very tender
- Add warm lentils, lemon juice, roasted garlic, tahini and 1 Tblsp salt to afood processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil while itis processing.Juice 1 Lemon, 3 cloves Roasted Garlic, 1/4 cup Tahini, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp Salt
- To Serve
- Pour Hummus onto Platter
- Top with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sumac or a good chili pepper