When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip Fruit Into My Favorite Two-Ingredient Dip
On The Dip and Fugazi's "Arpeggiator"
We call it Trash Dip. Or, since I’m trying to get away from referring to any food as “trash,” “garbage,” and “junk,” just The Dip.
It’s not complicated or even rare. Mix one 8-ounce package of cream cheese with one 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme until smooth and you’re done.
You can add a splash of vanilla extract, lemon juice, or a pinch of salt. You can substitute plain cream cheese for flavored — strawberry, blueberry, cinnamon and brown sugar, pineapple, whatever. There are literally hundreds of adaptions of The Dip on the internet.
In fact, here’s one that adds yogurt, here’s one that adds Cool Whip, and here’s one that adds both. This one adds concentrated orange juice to make a creamsicle-like treat and this one adds cinnamon for fall vibes. I have added peanut butter to it, just a couple of tablespoons, and that shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
The Dip has been around for decades. Here’s the recipe printed alongside a coupon for Philadelphia Cream Cheese in the March 24, 1986 edition of the St. Cloud Times:
Despite its long-held popularity, I didn’t experience The Dip until this century, when my husband Robby introduced me to The Dip during our early days of dating. All we did was hang out, watch movies, make out, eat snacks, and talk until 2 a.m. I taught him about putting Mike and Ikes in popcorn (the best!) and he introduced me to the Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven and The Dip.
What sets The Dip apart from other dips is that this dip is not the destination. Generally, the dip is the star of the show, and its dippers merely vehicles to get as much of it into your mouth as quickly as possible.
This dip, The Dip, is an accomplice. It is only as good as the fresh fruit you dip into it. Pineapple, strawberries, pear, canteloupe, banana, mango, honeydew, peaches, kiwi, nectarines (which are better than peaches), and papaya, “the only source of papain.”1
And can we talk about these white strawberries aka Winter Frost Pineberries that I found at Kroger? Look at these creamy-fleshed blushing beauties:
They are divine, they are my dream fruit. I had them once, years ago, at the Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam and I have craved them ever since. Imagine a combination of strawberry and pineapple with a little nod to apple. Juicy, sweet, and acidic but not overwhelmingly so. Far less acidic than pineapple, actually, and, it turns out, a wonderful companion to The Dip. They tasted far better than the woody, out-of-season strawberries I conned myself into buying.
Really, that’s the beauty of The Dip. Pair it with what you love. Pair it with what’s in season. Pair it with strawberries in March when you know better than to buy strawberries in March but really want strawberries so you don’t care.
Whatever it is, the creamy, tangy, sweet combo of marshmallow and cream cheese will make that fruit sing.
“Arpeggiator” by Fugazi
Few songs summon spring the way Fugazi’s “Arpeggiator” does. The instrumental, guitar-driven song is a blooming flower, a budding tree. It’s the sonic equivalent of early morning clouds breaking open and washing a dew-covered field of tall sunflowers in warm light, inviting all those fat, yellow-petaled heads to turn to the day’s warmth and shine bright.
An arpeggio, for those who did not take music theory classes — aka recorder lessons — in grade school like me, is when notes of a chord are played in succession, ascending or descending, as opposed to simultaneously.
I love the way Study.com explains it:
Think of notes as pieces of candy. If you eat a handful of candies all at the same time, this would be like playing a chord. If you eat the candies one at a time, this would be like playing an arpeggio.
Candy is great, but I’ve always thought of an arpeggio as a blooming flower.
A flower doesn’t open all at once, it unveils itself, like the notes of an arpeggio. Each petal of a bud opens separately, one after another, to culminate in an explosion of beauty.
To get the full experience of what happens in my brain when I hear Fugazi’s “Arpeggiator,” I recommend listening to the song while watching this video on mute:
If you start them both at the same time there are moments when the timing works out perfectly. Flowers die as the song turns a corner, petals splay as the guitar begins to flutter — it’s mesmerizing.
Maybe it’s because springtime and flowers are starting to pop up everywhere or maybe it’s because the news cycle continues to incite an overwhelming amount of anxiety, but time-lapse videos of flowers and plants are one of my favorite things right now.
They’re simultaneously calming and invigorating, the same way “Arpeggiator” is. They help me remember that life is always moving and flowers are always blooming.
Finally, spring is here. Our days are filling with more color and light. And, thankfully, better strawberries.
My dad cannot say the word “papaya” without also saying “the only source of papain.” And it’s true! Raw papaya really is the only source of papain, a “proteolytic enzyme.” I don’t remember how he learned this or why it stuck with him, but for most of my life I haven’t been able to read or hear the word “papaya” without also noting, out loud, usually, that it’s “the only source of papain.”