Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wisconsin 101: They also have cream cheese here‏

Who knew that a post about Ro-Tel dip would generate so many comments? I like it! Let's keep talking about food. 

The other hugely popular item at our party was the Memphis Junior League onion dip. I had seen the recipe when I bought my mandatory to purchase Junior League cookbook when I joined the league at the order of one of my Memphis fairy godmothers. ("It's a good way to meet men!" "It's a group for women!" "They have brothers.")

What I discovered about the Junior League is that it is for relatively affluent women, which I am sure comes as no surprise to any of you who pay any attention to stereotypes. Sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason. 

I discovered that there is a serious financial commitment to being in the league, which is why I almost dropped out after the first year. I didn't, because a friend wanted me to recommend her for membership. I should have told her fine, pay my fees. It cost almost $200 a year in various commitments! Plus all that volunteer time. But I knew that all going in the second year, so I have nobody to blame but myself. And I do now have a really good cookbook, as do my sister and my mom and my friends who got one of the six cookbooks I had to buy.

So. I had read the recipe but it didn't sound that good to me, which makes me think that I didn't have a good command of what makes food taste good back then.

Tell me - do you read this list of ingredients and say, "Eh. Whatever?"

cream cheese
Parmesan cheese

Really, what's not to like?

But I read the recipe - because I read cookbooks for fun the way some men read Playboy for fun - to look and dream about things they can never have - and it didn't hit me just how good some hot, salty, onion-y fat could be.

So I ignored it. Just as I ignored the recipe for tomato aspic because I hate jello and anything that is like jello. Tomato aspic is tomato jello and it is a standard dish at Memphis baby showers, along with cheese grits, which are delicious, and little ham biscuits, which are also delicious. How tomato jello made it into the baby shower food lexicon I will never know because it is disgusting.

I rightfully ignored the recipe for tomato aspic but wrongfully ignored the one for onion dip.

How dumb was that? How much time did I go without Memphis Junior League onion dip unnecessarily?

Then I went to a party. Probably a Junior League party or work event. Maybe the work event at the house of the woman who had a brand-new house with five bathrooms and a separate refrigerator just for drinks that she kept by the back door on the way out to the pool. 

There was this delicious concoction - a dish of hot, salty, fat next to a bowl of chips.

I tried some.

And wondered, as I have with so many foods, such as grits, Nutella, and Velveeta, "Where have you been my entire life?"

Then I made it for SH and he asked the same question. I serve it at all my book club meetings. I think it's the reason people are willing to come to my house for book club, even though it's always cold in our house and our pretty sofa is very uncomfortable. The comfortable furniture is in the basement with the TV and the cats. It's also cold down there and there is cat hair, despite my best efforts, but at least it is comfortable. On the rare occasions when SH and I watch TV - this is not a snob thing, it's a time thing, we wear sweats or PJs. We don't dare wear nice clothes on the comfy sofa unless we want them to be covered with cat hair.

Where was I?

Oh, right. Book club likes the dip. SH likes the dip. The people at the party liked the dip. And you'll like the dip.

24 oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
12-16 oz chopped onion, frozen and then thawed so a lot of the liquid goes out of them

Mix it all up in a bucket, then put in a pan and heat it at about 325 for 10 or 15 minutes, until it's bubbling and it's warm all the way through. Serve with chips. Amen.


Anonymous Mother said...

I don't have one of those cookbooks.

Boy, they sure make it DIFFICULT to post a comment!

Anonymous Mother said...

Not that I NEED another cookbook--just someone to prepare the recipes in them!

webb said...

Reading cookbooks is great fun! And you dont have toworry about the calories. Dip sounds good, but try switching out artichokes for the onions ... yum. The JL cookbooks are all great.

Gaylin said...

I used to read cookbooks the same way you do. Then I developed food allergies . . . since I can't have most of what is in a standard cookbook, meh, not so interesting now. Now I check out recipes and wonder, would that work without grain-based flour?

A suggestion for everyone - don't get food allergies. They suck.

Then I got really sick a few years ago, enough that it changed my taste & ability to digest some foods. Onions are no longer eaten in my house.

No dip for me! Even if I do like the idea of freezing & thawing the onion to soften them up.