Saturday, June 5, 2010

Claire's Dip

Dedicated to Kirstin McCarthy

1 C sour cream
1 C mayonnaise
4-5 dashes Tabasco
1 T parsley
1 T dry green onion
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
1 tsp *Beau Monde
salt to taste if using garlic powder
optional: 1 tsp Accent (MSG)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover. Allow flavors to blend several hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Serve with your favorite veggies or any combinations of the following; cut up celery, carrots, red, yellow, orange, green or purple peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow summer squash, scallions, whole radishes and cherry tomatoes.

The original recipe calls for garlic salt. I altered this part mainly because I find that buying garlic powder is more useful and economical than garlic salt. One can always mix garlic and salt together. I also like the kick the extra garlic gives to this dip. It may need just a touch of salt to bring out the combined flavors.

*Beau Monde" comes from France. It means “beautiful world”. It can be found in the spice aisle of most large supermarkets. It is a blending of celery seed powder and onion powder. Used sparingly it enhances many a dish with its subtle, but nearly undecipherable flavor. Having a bottle of Beau Monde in your larder will eventually find its way into many savory dishes.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

I first had this wonderful dip at my cousin Claire's home in Providence. I had recently moved to RI after graduating from college. I was so impressed with the flavors of this smooth dip served up with crunchy vegetables that I started making it many times over to bring to parties or other social events. Always, someone would ask me for the recipe. Or ask “What's in this? It's delicious!” This was in the days before we even imagined having PCs, so I would write it out on a 3x5” card or a scrap of paper for each person who wanted the recipe.

I do not know the origin of this dip. As far as I'm concerned this is “Claire's Dip” and I like to think of my good times with her whenever I make up a batch. My memories of Claire extend from early childhood Christmases at her parents Rumford home; the time she gave me a doll identical to the one she had that I loved so - I named the doll Claire-Betsy; the apartment we shared in Chicago just after I graduated from high school; and being put up for a while in Claire's and Dan's attic on the east side of Providence while I was seeking employment as a music teacher. (I'll never forget the time the space heater fan stopped working and I went to bed with my long hair still wet. When I woke up the next morning I found ice crystals n my hair.)

Claire was a good, and often, eclectic cook. If she made a dessert, she made two others just in case the first one bombed. If she made a main course, she made a back-up dish and always ample vegetables. She seemed to be in two places at once in her kitchen. She moved sprightly from cabinet to stove, much like our grandmother, Clara. She began incorporating wine, garlic, olive oil, butter, and fresh herbs and was not afraid to use spices generously. I honed a great deal of cooking ideas from her that slowly evolved into my own cooking style.

Claire was like a sister to me (our mothers were sisters). We talked like sisters. We argued like sisters, but we shared and listened to each other like sisters. Peace be to her wonderful memory.

1 comment:

  1. Wilma, \

    Thank you so much for this lovely tribute. You've made my evening. Not only were your reflections moving, but I TOTALLY know that dip...though haven't had it since I was a child! I would never even have thought of it, if it weren't for this blog post. I can't wait to try it. Thank you for sharing another little piece of her with me. :)