A dip, a spread, and a sauce walk into a bar…

October 18, 2010

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So what is the difference between these three condiments?  Well, I did a survey of about 70 people asking them what their favorite dip was and got varied ethnic answers such as Mexican (guacamole, refried beans, salsa, and layer dips with cheese and sour cream were popular), Lipton’s “French” onion dip, Switzerland’s fondue, and naturally the Middle Eastern hummus (with edamame, black bean, baba ghanoush, and red pepper hummus coming up).  So I wondered, if Mexican American food (just look at Taco Bell) is totally different than traditional Mexican food (think beans, corn, and chiles), is Middle Eastern food headed in that direction?

Because someone said that they don’t like Middle Eastern hummus, but LOVE the Americanized processed kind.  Also, I hear that all these American Middle Eastern restaurants are sooo very popular here. I wonder, why aren’t authentic Mexican restaurants as respected as these hummus connoisseurs? Will we have hummus chains soon?

Actually, I found out, we do. I just visited Maoz vegetarian, where they of course have hummus, but also falafal (need to make this) and salads, babaganoush, sweet potato fries, and other veggie options. It was founded in Amsterdam in 1991.

Also, to differentiate between the dip, spread, and sauce, I researched dips and found that they became popular after World War II.  Spreads go on bread obviously which explains why pesto did not get mentioned (although I think pesto falls under all three categories).  I think guacamole falls under all the dip, spread, and sauce categories too.  But ketchup did get mentioned, which might be a sauce as well as a dip. And don’t get me started on sauces.  I’m finding all about sauces in culinary school and those might be even more popular than dips, though we take them for granted maybe.

P.S. spinach artichoke, ranch, cream cheese, and cheese variation dips were popular too.

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