Onion dip, one of mankind’s most favorite dips. With the exciting arrival of Trader Joe’s Onion Dip Mix, they have now fulfilled the requirement that all supermarkets sell some type of powdered onion dip mix. I picked this up because it was new, and that’s always cool, and because onion dip is one of the most ordinary things you’re ever going to encounter in your life. Powdered onion dip mixes seldom, if ever, vary – presumably it’s all made in the same enormous mixing plant in New Jersey somewhere and then packaged with different labels. Trader Joe’s treads so far from the beaten path, is so devoted to bringing us strange and mysterious things, that it seemed weirdly incongruous that they’d be offering something as mundane and prosaic as onion dip. Surely they’ve got something sneaky planned with their onion dip, some uniquely Trader Joe’s twist hidden in this little orange packet.
Sadly, this is not the case. Trader Joe’s Onion Dip is practically indistinguishable from any other powered onion dip you might have ever had. It’s not a bad onion dip, it’s just a very ordinary onion dip. The sort of onion dip that makes you go, “Yup, here’s some onion dip.” So, in summary – if you are looking for a cheap ($0.99) onion dip mix on par with Knorr or Lipton, here you go.
The deeper, and to me more interesting, question is why do we eat onion dip at all. It’s tasty and I’m glad we do, but who was the first enterprising soul who thought “Know what this sour cream needs? A really strong onion flavor.” That’s really weird, wouldn’t you say? These are not two ingredients that naturally occur near each other in the wild Of course, I’m not Northern European either. Various recipes involving sour cream and onions were floating around the Old Country long before we adapted it into a party appetizer in the states. That transformation took place in the mid-
As it happens, the first onion dip didn’t come about until 1954, and owes its thanks entirely to the wondrous Modern Age. The era of convenience that exploded in America after WWII showed itself nowhere more clearly than through changes in the kitchen. Take the sudden rise of powdered soup, for instance. The idea of dehydrating soup for ease of use is a surprisingly old one. Lewis and Clark packed a great quantity of a commercially produced “pocket soup” with them on their expedition. The very first mentions of such a product can be traced back to as far as England, in the year 1681. These first powdered soups however, were more akin to bouillon cubes, hard lumps to be dissolved over time. These were eventually refined into powdered mixes that could easily be added to water by the busy housewives of the 1940’s and 50’s. It was one of these women, now as forgotten to time as the honorable Governor Ding, who first grabbed a packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix and added it to a bowl of sour cream. The result was a hit, and quickly co-opted by the Lipton company who as early as 1958 started printing it on every packet of onion soup mix they sold.
That, pretty much, is everything you need to know about the history of onion dip. What will the future hold for onion dip? We must wait and see. In the meantime, the next time you need to cater a party on the cheap, or prep a snack for the football game, you can give this dip a whirl
Would I Recommend It: Eh. It’s as good as any other brand.
Would I Buy It Again: Sure, if I’m having people over or something.
Final Synopsis: A competent onion dip mix with no surprises.