Take a dip

This Classic Taco Dip will have you contemplating double-dipping.


When I was about 12 years old, my stepmom’s family put in an in-ground pool. When I was growing up in New Hampshire, beach days were few and far between, unlike living here on Martha’s Vineyard. As soon as the pool went in, I, my brother, Tim, and her two siblings, Phoebe and Timmo, all around the same age, turned ourselves into prunes day after day playing in it. The adults would grill, cook, judge our diving board contest, and sip Arnold Palmers on the patio. Chips, dips, pasta salads, corn on the cob, burgers, and dogs — the classic barbecue staples were always there.

We kids loved the taco dip that Anne, my stepmom’s mother, would make. She would make two dishes in the morning, and leave them in the garage fridge to chill. One was for the adults, and one — which was more likely to get some pool water in it — was for us kids. Around lunchtime, the taco dip would come out, along with a big bag of tortilla chips, and it might have been the only thing that could get us out of the pool. The four of us each took a corner of the square Pyrex pan filled with dip. We did this for a couple of reasons, first so that we could monitor how much each of us had so there wasn’t any hogging; second, if someone double-dipped there would be zero chance of getting cooties. I’ll admit this now, I definitely double-dipped.

I decided to recreate this dip as an adult, and it turns out it’s incredibly simple and not nearly as luxurious as a 12-year-old gal remembers it. Nonetheless, it was delicious, cool, and spicy, perfect for a summer day. I enjoyed making it because all the ingredients you buy are used entirely, so there are no half-used items hanging around in your fridge. If you have a backyard barbecue or a pool party to go to, I recommend bringing this along, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for those double-dippers.

Classic Taco Dip

8 oz. block cream cheese
16 oz. container of sour cream
taco seasoning (I recommend Old El Paso seasoning packet)
1 jar salsa
7 oz. can of corn
8 oz. pouch of Mexican-style shredded cheese
1 bag (or two) tortilla chips

Soften the cream cheese.

Mix the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning together in a mixing bowl. Evenly spread the bottom of a glass pan with the mixture. Layer the jar of salsa on top. (If the salsa you decide to use has water at the top of the jar, make sure to drain it out first to avoid making your dip too soupy.)

Drain the corn and layer it on top of the salsa. Cover with a package of Mexican shredded cheese. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, or until party time!