Eat your veggies! (Along with a little dip…and some bacteria)

Consider this a public service announcement. Especially to those who might visit my home and share fresh cut vegetables and dip with my children.
Sure, my kids are cute. They wear cute little clothes and they say cute little things. They even have great big puppy dog brown eyes. But they are also hopeless double dippers.
Whether it is french fries in ketchup or carrots in garlic-herb, I guarantee that the food will take more than one swim in its condiment. And trust me, I have done my very best in trying to control the chronic double dipping. I have scolded and explained that when they put their half eaten veggie back in the dip, it’s almost as if they spit their germs back in there for all to enjoy.
But they still double dip.
Just like every other kid out there.
It’s indeed a mystery how all children will eat just about anything with the addition of some sort of dip. Broccoli? Yuck. But give them a big scoop of ranch and those miniature “trees” disappear like magic. What about meat of any sort? Even kids that are budding vegetarians will scarf up that meatloaf with the right amount of ketchup.
So it goes without saying that we put away our fair share of dip in this household. As a mom, I disguise as many healthy foods as I can under a dollop of this or that. For lunches, I frequently toss the entire container of dip on the table for their baby carrots. And they dip. And double dip. And yes, dare I say, even triple dip.
”Double dipping” if you didn’t know, is the act of dipping something, taking a bite, and then dipping the same half-eaten morsel back into the dip for a little extra flavor. It is said that the term “double dipping” was first officially used in an episode of Seinfeld in 1993, but I think the term is as common today as the act is. It’s considered a social faux pas because of the fact that you’re putting your mouth germs back into the dip, where it will live and grow and maybe even get scooped up in the mouth of your party mate.
But like my kids, I reckon we’ve all done a little double dipping in our own time…when no one was looking, of course.
And chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve survived this nasty habit.
But chances when you’re done reading this, you might rethink your next double dip.
Later this year, a study done at Clemson University will be published in the Journal of Food Safety that proves that it’s true -- double dipping does cause mouth germs in the dip.
And after my throat stopped it’s series of gag reflexes, I continued reading that a team of scientists tested wheat crackers, a tablespoon of dip, a three-second plunge, and a triple dip. The results were astounding. They found an average of 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth in the remaining dip.
And another test revealed that even sporadic dipping deposited 50 to 100 bacteria from one mouth each time.
I’m no microbiologist, but as a mother constantly on germ patrol, putting other people’s mouth bacteria into my own is not worth the extra taste of dip on the end of my celery.
The hard part will be conveying this information to my young children who may not even understand the concept of 10,000, let alone the idea of microscopic bacteria.
Maybe I’ll just tell them that double dipping leads to [gulp] eating other people’s spit. But knowing how kids just adore their dip, they’ll probably just smile and dive back in for another dunk of their beloved ranch.
I guess at least their eating their veggies, right?


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