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If love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, what could possibly be said to describe just how well chips and dip go together?

No matter whether you prefer thick cheesy dips, hot vegetable-packed salsas, cool cream-cheese-based dips, or creative baked dips that combine all sorts of different flavors, the truth is that chips would just not be the same without them. There are thousands of different kinds of chip dips eaten with potato, corn, and more recently veggie chips the world over, meaning a holiday to celebrate the tradition of dipping chips is more than overdue. And could you possibly think of a better, tastier day to celebrate than National Chip and Dip Day? You’d be hard-pressed, that’s for sure.

History of National Chip and Dip Day

Dips have been made for thousands of years. One of the earliest dips to become popular long before chips ever came into existence is the Greek tzatziki, a combination of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt and olive oil. Greeks still eat tzatziki with meats and bread, but since the invention of the potato chip in the mid-19th century, it and many variations of it have also become popular chip dips. Guacamole, yet another iconic chip dip, that was first made by the Aztecs.

The potato chip itself is believed to have been invented in 1853 by a cook named George Crum whose potato wedges were repeatedly sent back to the kitchen by an unsatisfied customer who claimed they were too thick. Crum eventually became irritated and decided to serve the man potato slices so thin he could see through them fried to a crisp, topped with a rather excessive amount of salt. Surprisingly, the customer absolutely loved them, and chips were born. At first, chips were made only in restaurants, but by the 20th they began to be mass-produced.

How to celebrate National Chip and Dip Day

There’s no doubt about it: the best way to celebrate this delicious holiday is to resist the urge to buy ready-made, preservative packed chip dips from the supermarket and make your very own dip. Think about what you like, buy the ingredients, and get chipping and dipping! One type of chip dip that many people buy instead of making on their own for fear that it will be too complicated to make properly is nacho cheese dip, so here is a simple recipe for a basic nacho cheese dip that you can spice up to suit your own personal taste:

Basic Nacho Cheese Dip recipe

Ingredients: (makes one cup)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup milk

4 slices processed cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

mix and match: chopped pickled jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, finely chopped onions or tomatoes, to taste

The most important thing you absolutely have to get right if you want a smooth, creamy sauce without gooey lumps in it is to make a good roux. To do this, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter slowly, and then stir in flour, combining well. It is important that the mixture doesn’t start browning.

Next, bring the heat up to medium and pour in the milk. Stir well again, until the mixture thickens a bit.

Mixing gently and constantly, add the cheese, piece by piece, and then the salt as well.

Continue to cook and stir until the cheese has melted and all ingredients are well blended. This should take about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, taste the cheese mixture and and decide what you’d like to add to make it your own. If you’re a fan of all things hot and spicy, add some chopped jalapeno peppers and a pinch or two of chili powder. If you want to add more depth the the flavor of your cheese sauce, add a bit of garlic powder or cumin. You can also consider mixing some onions or tomatoes to the mix, or anything else you like.

Serve hot with corn chips. Enjoy!

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