I was seventeen, living with my parents still. And I knew nothing about cooking. Not one lick. I had never been taught and I was never forcibly chained to the kitchen to cook the families dinner growing up either. But, I had just met this super cute guy who had appeared out of NOWHERE in church and had fallen madly head over heels infatuated with him. But I didn't know how to cook! And I have always heard-the way to a man's heart is through his belly...
Well, if that were true, I wouldn't 'catch' anyone for quite a L-O-N-G time, given my present circumstances. Nope. And who knows how long I would have before a 'catch' like that Matt Newman would get hooked by the line of some other devious, selfish broad. I had to work fast!
It wasn't long before my opportunity came. Mom and Dad hosted a party-probably just with family, I imagine. Nothing party-ish sticks out in my head, only that one of the things that were served was rye dip. Out of a little storebought plastic deli package. Oh me, oh my. I was done for. I probably gained 10 pounds alone that night. (Back then-10 pounds would have put me at about average, so I didn't mind all that much. THEMS WAS THE DAYS!!! hehehe)
I was SO in love with that dip that I confiscated the plastic deli wrap sticker-(the one with the ingredients printed on them) and hauled my patooti up to my third floor-attic room halfway through the party. It was a room that my sister had lived in for a while. Then both my older brothers had their turn, and finally, being the youngest-I got the chance to use it. It was the largest room in the house-spanning half the length of the whole house, but with that, came sacrifices. It was also the COLDEST (and I mean FRIGID!) in winter, and SWELTERING in summer. (In fact, come to think of it, I don't EVER remember actually being COMFORTABLE when living up there....)
With each child succession, the room was given a face-lift. Always by the new tenant. When it was my turn, I painted the hunter green walls WHITE. That says alot about me. I like things BRIGHT. Always have. Being the attic, the walls were in a bizarre shape and the ceiling had such a HIGH point that my six-foot tall frame could only stand tall in the center of the room. But it was my little space. My bed, my papazon chair, my desk and my dresser. My own little abode.
So-I flew up the ridiculously steep stairwell and plopped my ten-pounds heavier derriere into the chair at my desk, looking for index cards. I couldn't find any. But I did find an empty three ring binder and some college ruled paper. (Oh my! College RULED!) Then, I settled in to try and interpret the ingredients list. I didn't know half of the words listed. But a few occasional words stuck out at me. Onion. Salt. Dill. I wrote the stuff I knew down and chalked the rest up to 'additives and unnecessary."
At the top of the first sheet of paper in my notebook I wrote: Rebecca's Recipes. I remember quite vividly, however, what my MIND was writing down as my pen only skimmed over the high points. It went something like this: "The Soon-to-be Rebecca Newmans Recipes for when she snags her man, marries him, and gets to be the Lady of the House. When all my dreams come true." Sigh. AWWWWW. Giggle Giggle.
Later on, I tested and experimented with ingredients and proportions until I finally got it right. And it was a winning recipe, prized because I had created it myself...in a twisted sort of way. But the recipe itself wasn't then and isn't now the pivotal point in the story. Oh no-the pivotal point in the story was before the recipe had even been formulated.
It was back then, in my little desk crevice, of my freezing cold-bright white, attic room, that I made the decision to try and learn how to cook. But not just cook well, but to depend on MYSELF and NOT the store to create yummies. And it was right then and there, that I started my 'Marriage Prepwork' in a notebook of recipes. That notebook of recipes STILL resides in my cupboard to this day. And this rye bread pokes its head out from time to time, too.
Did I snag the guy? Now THAT is a story for another day.... ;-) But I DEFINATELY conquered the snack!
To make this amazingly wonderful not-storebought dip, you need:
2 containers (2.25 oz. each) dried beef
About 2 cups each: mayo and sour cream
1 1/2 t. dill
3 T. minced onion
Then, mix the sour cream and mayo. Add the spices. Cut the meat into smallish pieces, or you can rip if you are a rebel. And it's that easy. HOWEVER: I would advise the reading of the following *TIPS* to really make it a success.
Tip #1-MUY IMPORTANTE!- You MUST, absolutely MUST rinse and pat dry the dried beef. That stuff is CRAZY salty-even when every single slice is rinsed with water. When it is NOT rinsed with water, it makes the dip absolutely, sourly, DISGUSTINGLY gross. Just hold the meat under water and pull back each slice.
Tip #2~ You can make as much or as little of this dip as you like. The key is-keep the amount of sour cream and mayo the same. If you do that, the flavors will meld well. Just adjust the spices to more or less.
Tip#3~ If you use dried minced onion-let the dip sit for about 25 minutes so that the onion will resaturate again. Otherwise, it will be crunchy. And not in a good way. If you use fresh onion that is okay but it would still taste better in time-giving all the flavors a chance to meld.
Tip#4~ Serve with Rye and Pumpernickel bread. It is SO good.