It’s summertime in Texas and we all know what that means. Sun-kissed skin, kid-like zealousness as you look forward to the weekend and delicious burgers at cookouts with friends and family. Oh summer. Isn’t it grand? Surely there’s nothing that could possibly ruin one’s summer right? Well perhaps the somehow inevitable sunburn, or the flared tempers caused by daily temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, or the awkward moment when someone no one invited shows up at the cookout. Luckily, these things can all be remedied rather quickly. Aloe Vera, ice water, and a plate-to-go. Ahh. Summer is saved.
Or so you thought. I’m not here to burst a rain cloud bubble over your summer. But out there, lurks a danger. In the last place you would probably expect, amongst all the fixin’s for the cookout. Laid out for all to see, touch, taste, and maybe even fall ill from. That danger, fellow Bohemians, is “the Dip.”
I know, I know. How in the world could it be dangerous? It’s not like you’re bringing expired dip to the cookout, right? Well I would like to introduce you to the commonly practiced occurrence that would be double-dipping. For those of you that don’t know what that means, it’s dipping your chip once, biting it, and then dipping the moistened and bit end back into the dip again. Blegh! I’m sure most of you reacted the same way. Especially when realizing that no one keeps an eye on the dip. I mean why would anyone, really? And despite the fact that most of us put some on our plates at cookouts and unknowingly prevent double dipping, kids will be kids. We all know that cookouts are at times a free range for kids to roam about, play and snack on what’s available. And I’ll be danged if it isn’t chips and dip that they go after first. There’s also other people who subconsciously stand by the table munching, crunching, and double-dipping away without any thought. I know, I used to be one of those people. Now the entire point of this blog is not to spur the birth of a new set of germophobes, but to merely quench my curious thirst about how dangerous double dipping one’s chip really is. Is it like putting your whole mouth into the bowl? Or is it pretty safe, and nothing more than another reason for people, moms especially, to get all worked up about germs that are no more harmful than cotton candy kisses and rainbow bear hugs? I’m sure that everyone’s main concern is , well let’s be honest, that no one, but ourselves, know where our mouth has been. And heck even that’s not so reassuring. So, here’s some information that I gathered via Google on how dangerous double-dipping really is.
*According to the NY Times:
“A team of nine students instructed volunteers to take a bite of a wheat cracker and dip the cracker for three seconds into about a tablespoon of a test dip. They then repeated the process with new crackers, for a total of either three or six double dips per dip sample. The team then analyzed the remaining dip and counted the number of aerobic bacteria in it.On average, the students found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip. Each cracker picked up between one and two grams of dip. That means that sporadic double dipping in a cup of dip would transfer at least 50 to 100 bacteria from one mouth to another with every bite.” Clemson professor Paul L. Dawson, a food microbiologist, who led the double-dipping study stated, “The way I would put it is, before you have some dip at a party, look around and ask yourself, would I be willing to kiss everyone here? Because you don’t know who might be double dipping, and those who do are sharing their saliva with you.”
Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s either one of two things. “Gross!” Or, “I could just flip my chip and dip the part that hasn’t been in my mouth yet back into the dip.” Yes, it is most definitely gross and you were holding that chip with your hand, correct? Unless you’re a germophobe with a supply of germ-x at hand or have just gone to the restroom, the odds of you having just washed your hands are slim to none. So wouldn’t it be like sticking your fingers in the dip then? I’m not trying to say that we are all disgusting slobs whose hands and mouths aren’t ever clean, I’m just trying to point out the obvious and prevent any illness because who wants to be sick during the hottest season of the year in Texas, am I right? So the next time you’re at a cookout, make sure someone volunteers to be the dip dictator. Have them dole out portions of dip and then put a lid on it. That way you can prevent the spread of bacteria from your sweaty Uncle Jose, ya know the one that has a different girlfriend every other weekend,to everyone else. So have a great summer and don’t forget to stay informed and stay safe fellow Bohemians.