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A couple of years ago, the hubs and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve party hosted by a sweet couple. We were excited; I had just started hanging out with the wife, and she was a blast. By “blast,” I mean she was a nasty skank. (Do I overuse the word skank? Good.)
She loved coffee, anything alcoholic, and not showering. And although she didn’t cuss much, she didn’t mind that I threw the F-bomb at least 35 times into every conversation we had when the kids weren’t around. (I try to only throw it out there, like, 23 times if the kids are present.)
Basically, I had found a kindred spirit.
When she invited the hubs and me to her New Year’s Eve party, I was excited to show off my new skillz. I’ve matured a lot since my pre-wife and mother days when I showed up to parties empty-handed, demanding to know where the keg and plastic cups were stashed. I’m a part-time housewife now and dammit, I take covered dishes to peoples’ houses when they have parties and then demand to know where the keg and plastic cups are stashed. Yes, my casserole dish cover is normally tinfoil since I always lose the tops of casserole dishes on account of being tips-ay when I leave the parties, but still. Covered dishes.
That New Year’s Eve, I walked into those front doors proudly carrying my foil-covered casserole dish. I couldn’t help but notice, though, that people were cringing as I walked by them on my way to the kitchen. Some of them were shaking their heads in sympathy.
I didn’t understand, but I figured it was because of the homebrewed beer they were drinking. Maybe my friend and her husband had made it extra strong and people were just having a hard time controlling their faces.
When I got to the kitchen, I ran right into my friend, who was carrying a platter full of really fancy-looking appetizers…bacon-rolled shrimp with sprigs of parsley sticking up; shit like that.
“Where should I set this?” I asked her after she’d kissed my cheek in greeting. I nodded toward the casserole dish in my arms.
“Um…over there,” she replied with a huge smile. I couldn’t help but notice that the smile didn’t reach her eyes as she glanced at my casserole dish. I looked to where she was pointing with her free hand.
I shuffled a few steps uncertainly. “Right here next to the dog dish?” I asked.
“Just...right here on the floor, then?” I said quietly as she bustled off. I knelt to set my lovingly-prepared dish (okay, it took all of about 10 minutes, but STILL) next to the dog dish. As I was doing so, I happened to look up and see a guy in a kilt glancing at me, eyes full of pity.
Seriously, why the hell was the guy wearing an effing kilt feeling sorry for me?
“Look around you,” he said quietly by way of explanation. When I realized he was trying to help me, I softened a bit. It was actually a really nice kilt. Green and plaid and stuff…
I did what he said. And suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was a rack of lamb steaming under a heating lamp on the industrial-looking counter, a knife resting between the several pieces that had been pre-cut. There was a bowl of foie gras—effing foie gras—on a small table just through the doorway of the kitchen, crackers all laid out next to it in a cute oval pattern. And then I noticed the husband, traipsing happily through the crowd, topping off fancy drinks with Christmasey swizzle sticks.
My eyes wide, I looked to the guy in the kilt. “They’re trashies who hire caterers? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
He gave a weary smile. “You’d never know it, but they both graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. It’s one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the country. They’re both chefs.”
“Huh?” I asked in awe. WOW, my radar had really been off with this couple. They actually had achieved their dreams…and here I thought that they just sat around watching Ricki Lake and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon all day. I was pretty sure I liked my idea of them better than their actual successful selves.
Ah, well. You can’t win them all.
My face paled to an even pastier version of the one God gave me as I looked feverishly around, trying to find a spot where I could throw my offending dish before anyone could see what was in it. The guy in the kilt gave me one more pathetic smile before he refilled his mug of beer with some of the homebrew. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. I made the same mistake—once—too. It happens to the best of us.”
The good thing was, no damage had been done. Nobody had even lifted off the foil to see what was inside, so I was good. All I had to do was get the casserole dish outside before—
Suddenly a drunken girl stumbled into the kitchen. “Hey, what’s that?” she asked, falling toward my casserole dish.
“No, don’t!” I shouted, lunging. The thing was—the floor was so far down, and there were all of these dog kibbles in the way. I couldn’t get there fast enough.
It felt as if it was all happening in slow motion when the a-hole drunk pulled the foil off of my dish to reveal congealed cheese with little grease pools resting on top, not to be outdone by the crusty dried pieces of chili block sticking to the foil.
“Ewwwwww! What the…?” the girl screamed in horror.
“Oh, shit,” I whispered, mortified, as the hubs and two close friends that we had come with just couldn’t hold it in anymore, allowing themselves to dissolve into fits of giggles.
After about two of the homebrews, I joined them. And at the end of the night, when the only chunks that had been taken out of my dip were the ones that joined together to make a big B (our good friend Bill had felt bad for me and had eaten his initial out of the dip), I laughed even harder as I set several of the foie gras crackers in a small pile on the floor next to my dip dish, as if it were the absence of crackers that explained the full casserole dish of dip four hours into the party.
But the joke was on our new friends, the hosts of the party. Because when we got into the cab to head home, my homebrew-filled brain still had enough sense left in it to leave those fancy-pants a-hole chefs the remainder of the dip. The hubs and friends and I laughed about it all the way home.
“I even left the tin foil with it!” I screamed in laughter. “I folded it and made sure the husband was watching while I placed it really gently on top of the greasy-ass cheese like I was afraid to mess up the dip! Then I said, really seriously, ‘You guys enjoy this. You deserve it after throwing such a lovely party.’” All of us idiots in the cab wailed with laughter, clutching at our stomachs, wiping our tears away as we imagined the husband hurling the well-meant dip out the back door.
That’ll teach ‘em to be all fancy. Or at least to have two separate New Year’s Eve parties: One for the classies and one for the trashies.
Surprisingly, the hubs and I have remained good friends with the hostesses (hostessi?) with the mostesses. And the surprise lies not in the fact that we like them, but instead in the fact that they like us. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Seriously, though, peeps, it’s some damned good dip and it normally goes really quickly. Even better: It’s the perfect thing to take to any Christmas or New Year’s party. Just make sure you’re not heading to a double-cheffed household when you take it.
Cream Cheese Chili Dip (aka Skank Dip)
Layer cream cheese, chili, and shredded cheese in a small casserole dish. Microwave or bake for a few minutes.
You might want to wait to thank me until after you take it to the party...who knows how it’ll go over? But in any case: You’re welc.