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5 Out of 10

Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin

Top 5 Shabbos Dips

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A recent letter to the editor in a prominent Jewish newspaper identified the silent financial burden plaguing many frum families: Shabbos dips. “Who regulates the prices for Shabbos dips?!” the letter writer who signed his name “Taken for a Ride in Lakewood” fumed. Indeed, I’m pretty sure if the average frum family made a pie chart of their spending, after tuition, the lion’s share for many goes to Shabbos dips. And, honestly, how can you blame them?

On those long Friday nights, it divides up the seudah — transforming Shabbos meals into a two-course affair. The first course is a full loaf of challah for everyone slathered in the dip(s) of their choice — maybe with some gefilte fish buried somewhere underneath. Then, following a carb-induced coma, the second course is the rest of the meal. So which dips have the Jewish people sacrificed so much of their income and waist sizes for?
Here are my Top 5. Let me know your other favorites.


1 - Chummus

A secular entertainer once said, “Gentiles are people who eat mayonnaise for no reason.” By that measure, Jews are people who eat chummus for no reason, and in bizarre quantities. But as the outside world becomes more intrigued by this dip, the frum community has established quiet ways to identify the true Jewish character of your chummus: The chunkier the chummus, the more heimish the home. Homes that serve a silky smooth processed chummus likely pronounce it “hummus.” But a true heimishe home has chummus so chunky the chick peas are still floating in the dip.


 2 - Baba Ganoush

Full disclosure: The first time I heard about this dip as a child, I thought it was an affectionate name for my Bubbe. And, if I’m being completely honest, the tangy smoky flavor reminds me of my Bubbe’s perfume. Baba ghanoush is the Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch of dips — smokey, refined, and an intriguing nickname for your Bubbe.


3 - Matbucha

A well-stocked Shabbos table should look like the United Nations. Dip diversity is a key component of a united Shabbos table and matbucha has an added exotic flavor that can make any balebos feel like he’s solving Mideast politics with his challah. “Would I call myself an international connoisseur of culture?” asks a well-intentioned yungerman from his apartment in Lakewood, a two-hour ride from Brooklyn, where he was raised. “Let’s just say I’m the sort of guy who has matbucha at my Shabbos table.” Indeed, matbucha is the Abba Eban of dips, a veritable dip-lomatic experience ensuring all cultures and ethnicities are represented at your Shabbos table.


4 - Chrayonaise

Earlier this year the scientists of Heinz Ketchup Laboratories announced what they believed to be a ground-breaking invention: Mayochup — a sauce that combines mayonnaise and ketchup in one mediocre sauce. Dip enthusiasts within the frum community responded with a resounding, “no thank you.” If Mayochup was the best they could come up with, it frankly makes me wonder if the Heinz laboratory remains the serious scientific enterprise it once was. Forget Mayochup. We’ve long embraced mayonnaise’s other partner-in-crime — horseradish. Horseradish and mayonnaise, otherwise known as chrayonaise, remains one of the most formidable dip duos in history.

 5 - Shallot Dips

Wow, you must be really fancy. It’s hard not to put shallot dip on your table and not feel a drop upscale. Shallot dip at a Shabbos table is the closest a Shabbos meal can come to being “Black Tie Optional.” So enjoy this tuxedo for your challah; just make sure, if you plan on serving some of that fancy shallot dip, that your guests RSVP.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue 739)

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