We always talk about dip like it’s made for parties, informal gatherings, or hootenannies, but let’s be honest: none of us have ever really wanted to share our dip, have we? This has nothing to do with social distancing and everything to do with the fact that you’d like to eat all the dip yourself. In my house, dip is a major food group. It’s heartier than soup but not as heavy as stew. It’s filling and doesn’t require utensils. It can easily be eaten on a sofa. Seriously, what more can you ask for?
But sometimes it gets a little bit boring eating the same store-bought varieties over and over again, and it’s not always something I want to whip up in the kitchen from scratch. (Not only would that cut into my precious TV time, but it requires the use of appendages that I need to keep free for doomscrolling.) I seek dips that explode with flavors old and new, ones that taste like something special enough for company yet require practically no effort on my part. And one day, after receiving a sample bottle of Ricante Tamarindo sauce, it finally hit me: I needed to start shopping in the bottled marinade aisle.
This might be a “duh” moment to plenty of you dip-ophiles out there, but to me it was a revelation. Since I’ve been cooking professionally since my early 20s I’ve never been in the habit of using bottled marinades or sauces, and I often forget they even exist. I mixed a few glugs of the tamarind sauce with enough Greek yogurt to achieve optimal dip consistency, and in an instant, life as I knew it had changed forever.
Now, instead of (or in addition to!) settling for cans of onion dip, I’ll spend a few extra dollars for unique, higher-end bottles of simmer sauces, marinades, glazes, and small batch barbecue sauces. All you need is some Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or some other rich, creamy base to mix with the bottled stuff, and just like that, you’ve entered a new dimension of dip. You don’t even need a spoon to mix it together—just use a chip.