I played tennis in college which, for obvious reasons, was a lot of fun: being part of a team, traveling all over New England to see beautiful schools, getting to leave my afternoon classes early for this travel, thereby avoiding the 117th straight discussion of Beloved or that pre-law professor who’s maniacal obsession with humiliating me in class somehow fell under the acceptable penumbra of “The Socratic Method.” But there were not-so-obvious reasons, too. Like this ridiculously disgusting — and I mean that in the nicest possible way — hot cheesy artichoke dip that somehow made an appearance at our coach’s house every time she’d have us over to get us pumped up for a match or celebrate a victory or watch a big game like the Super Bowl. I have no idea who made it — it wasn’t my coach, maybe it was my doubles partner Jennie or our captain Jane. (Can either of you out there confirm or deny?) But I do know that my team’s most competitive side came out when that hot baking dish was placed before us, and we all fought to stuff as much as possible into our Feminist Theory spewing-mouths. Over the years — er, decades — I’ve tried to upgrade the dip by including herbs or spinach or, you know, experimenting with the acidity. But in the end, I always go back to the original recipe, which was so easy anyone could make the thing — even a college sophomore who couldn’t understand Beloved no matter how many times she read it.
Hot Cheesy Artichoke Dip
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (drained, chopped), 1/3 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve with crusty bread.