Monday, January 29, 2007

National Corn Chip Day

That's right ladies and gentleman - although you all woke up this morning unaware of this important event, you are now cognizant of one of the most random "holidays" to grace the American culture. Although technically it shouldn't be called a "national" holiday - all national holidays must be mandated by Congress - it certainly merits mention in our most dedicated of foodie blogs.

For me, the corn chip immediately evokes feelings of childhood. I grew up in a home where fruit roll-ups, sugary cereal and pop were all forbidden. I opened my lunch bag every day to find a sandwich on wheat bread (and not the wheat bread they market now that still tastes like white bread, this was the wheat bread that doesn't really bend) and dutifully ate my fruit leather. For those of you who aren't familiar with fruit leather, it's supposed to be a healthier version of fruit roll-ups made with real, dried fruit and little to no sugar. This is exactly how it tastes. And to a 10 year-old whose friends are chowing down on a full three feet of sugary goodness, something called "leather" just wasn't enough. (Author's note: It happens that I'm extremely grateful to my mother for instilling such excellent eating habits into my brain as a child - it's just that it doesn't quite serve my purpose here. As an adult, I highly recommend fruit leather.)

Clearly, I've digressed on my I-was-deprived-of-sugar-as-a-child tangent. But because of the lack of Doritos, Cheetos and other unnaturally cheesy snacks, I hold a special fondness for Fritos as they were somehow acceptable in my mother's view. And even years later when I have banished all chips from my pantry (except Stacy's pita chips, of course!), my peanut butter and jelly just isn't quite the same without those yellowish corn chips by its side.

Though my private love affair with corn chips was somewhat limited to Fritos, tortilla chips certainly fall into this category as well. And what better than to use tortilla chips for than dip? You can browse Recipe4Living's extensive Dips and Spreads category if you're looking for inspiration, but here's my absolute favorite:

Grandma Annette's 7-Layer Taco Dip


2 cans bean dip (Fritos' is my favorite)
3-4 avocados
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small can black olives, sliced
Shredded cheddar cheese


Pit avocados, mix with lemon juice and set aside. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and taco seasoning until well-blended. Layer ingredients starting with bean dip, then avocado, taco seasoning-mayo mixture, tomatoes, green onions, olives and finish off with cheddar cheese on top. This works best if you use a platter with a lip so the dip doesn't slide.