May 26, 2024
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What’s With All the Dips?

I can’t say that it began with our arrival in Montreal. Although we ate primarily at home for each Shabbat and chag, with tons of guests, I would never have considered putting some kind of “dip” in the center of my table. There was no such thing at the time. As a child, I remember my mother occasionally treating my father to homemade chicken fat (shmaltz), which was not something I ever developed a taste for, and of course there was always horseradish when she served gefilte fish, but definitely at no other time. This is in contrast to my family today who eats it with everything, including shmearing it on challah.

Upon our move to Cote Saint-Luc, where many Sephardim make their home, we found that many of our friends made their own delicious dips to enhance their seuda experience. Many hostesses made, and gladly offered advice regarding how to make matbucha or babaganoush in every possible way, and the carrot salad surrounded by the outstanding flavor of cumin, chickpeas, hummus and myriad other dips whose names I wish I could remember at the moment.

Here we are so many years later, and at least one shelf in every kosher store displays an array of every kind of dip. Most of them seem to have the same consistency, with at least one major ingredient being different. Olive dip, onion dip, garlic dip, hummus, tahina, horseradish, jalapeno dip, babaganoush, grilled eggplant dip, tomato dip, honey mustard dip, and more. Forgive me, but think about the cost of these dips and the amount of time it would take to prepare two tablespoons of mayonnaise with one half a jar of sliced olives? What flashed back to me is my conversation a while ago with one of my daughters when I told her that I used to serve as a well-enjoyed side dish, a can of drained peas, which I would mix with two tablespoons of mayo. She looked at me as if I was nuts. I think I should suggest it to one of the local gastronomic sources and they could make quite a bit of money on this new salad invention!

Am I not right that it would be difficult for us to find a local home where on Shabbat many dips are not found on the table? I cannot figure out how this change came about, and I wonder what will be next.

At the six-month mark since that catastrophic day when all of our worlds turned upside down, I was thinking that perhaps it would be appropriate for us to put an additional dip on our Shabbat table. Would it not be appropriate for us to set aside something in particular to dip into salt water as we do each year at the Seder as a reminder of the constant tears that are being shed by so many? I am sure that if enough of us would take on this extra mitzvah, even the stores would be willing to sell salt water for those who find it too difficult to pour the salt into the water. What chinuch it would be for our children and for each of us in reminding ourselves that while we are enjoying our company, our comfort and our surroundings, there are those who are unable to awaken from this nightmare they are going through. It is unfathomable to conceive of these atrocities. As a mother, each day I worry about the comings and goings of my children and grandchildren, but what happened on October 7 is beyond anyone’s imagination. An easy act by adding one dip would not only give chizuk to ourselves but to others as well.

One more suggestion as we prepare for Pesach and are busy buying and planning: Perhaps it would be a good idea to have each of us forego one special treat that we usually receive for the celebration of the chag in honor of all the families who have suffered losses or are awaiting news of the release of their family members. Am Yisrael Chai.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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