For quarterbacks and wide receivers, the football playoffs are all about touchdowns, field goals, and fumbles. For the rest of us, they're all about cold beers, crunchy chips, and creamy dips.
With the NFC and AFC Championship games this Sunday and the Super Bowl coming up on February 1st, I decided to "tackle" two of America's favorite football snacking staples in this week's Mixed Review: Lipton's French onion dip and Simply Organic's guacamole.
Lipton French Onion Dip
When it comes to classic, creamy onion dip, nothing compares to Lipton. It's a rec room party staple, best served alongside an economy-sized bag of Fritos and a remote control. Simply dump a packet of instant soup mix in a bowl, add a 16-ounce container of sour cream, and volia—instant appetizer. It's so easy you could make and serve the whole thing during a single commercial break.
I haven't had Lipton's dip since an ill-fated high school make-out party (I forgot to bring breath mints), and I must say, it tasted exactly as I remembered: salty, thick, and a little bit sugary. Upon inspection of the package, I was pleased to see that the first ingredient listed was, in fact, onions. Subsequent ingredients, however, were less agreeable: corn syrup; partially hydrogenated soybean oil; and monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG.
After just a few bites, I found myself longing for something to cut through the viscous, gooey consistency of the dip—like a celery stick or, better yet, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Simply Organic Guacamole
Next up, and at the other end of the nutrition spectrum, was guacamole by Simply Organic, which costs $1.25 at Whole Foods. The package gave instructions for three versions of guacamole. The easiest involved stirring the mix with two cups of mashed avocados (about two avocados). The "rich and creamy" version added 1/2 cup of sour cream, and "garden fresh" included 1/4 cup diced tomatoes. After the Lipton dip I was feeling a little sick of sour cream, so I opted for the tomato version.
Thanks to all-organic ingredients such as red pepper, garlic, and cilantro, my guacamole turned out flavorful and spicy, with a gentle kick (more of a punt, really) of heat. I thought it needed a few additions—most notably lime juice and a bit of salt—in order to stand up to homemade versions of guacamole, but all-in-all it was quite good and worthy of gourmet-variety tortilla chips.
In the end, both dips have their place on the buffet table. It's simply a matter of style. If your football party is a throwback—pun intended—replete with pigs-in-blankets, Buffalo wings, and PBR, then the Lipton dip would fit right in. If, however, you're planning something a little more refined—sirloin sliders, veggies and hummus, maybe even a bottle of wine or two—then go for the guacamole.