Wednesday, June 25, 2014

French Onion Dip

While dipping some ruffled chips in prepackaged French Onion Dip I began wondering why the dip is called what it is.  What is so French about it? I mean, why not Basque Onion Dip or Parisian Onion Dip? I thought that perhaps the delicious dip got its name because when someone who eats it on their chips smacks their lips the dip smacks back in a French kiss sort of way.

Imagine my surprise when I Googled the question “Why is French Onion Dip called French Onion Dip” and discovered that other people with too much free time on their hands also searched the internet for an answer to this deep existential question—and had actually received answers. Some answers attributed the name of the dip to its being made from French Onion Soup mix.  Others attributed the name to the soup mix which derived its name from a soup made with French bread.  One answer even stated that the dip was invented in France! If that were the case, then like Champagne, only dip made in France ought to bear the moniker French Onion Dip. Se la vie.
Then I began wondering why, immediately after the American 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bob Ney had not sought to rename this delicious dip Freedom Dip and introduced legislation to replace the bag of French fries and tub of French Onion Dip held up, lofty and high by the right arm of the Statue of Liberty, with a torch of freedom.  If political and diplomatic hindsight can teach us anything, perhaps it has taught us the proper response after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq would have been to rename this delicious dipping concoction I Told You So Dip. Then, every time we dipped a chip in this delicious mixture, we would immediately be reminded of how right the French were and how wrong we were.
Seriously, though, what is so French about this dip?  Is it the onions that are French, or the dip itself?  Would a similar dip made in Georgia from local onions qualify as Vidalia Onion Dip even if it contained some variant of onion other than Vidalia?  Do onions even grow in France and if they do, are they any good?  Alas, I am at a lost for an answer. Even Jean-Paul Sartre has been purported to have said: “Everything has been figured out, except why French Onion Dip is named what it is”.
After a while I began wondering about the potential cultural significance of French Onion Dip. What if Marie Antoinette had opined “Let them eat chips dipped in French Onion Dip”? What if American beatniks had been identified by their gathering in coffee houses around bowls of chips, dipping them in French Onion Dip, rather than their wearing French berets? What if Che Guevara’s revolutionary idea had been to provide every Argentine a bag of chips and a tub of French Onion Dip?  What if Bob Marley had sung about the pleasures of eating chips dipped in French Onion Dip rather than smoking ganja?
May I have some more chips and French Onion Dip please?

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