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How To Dip Without Breaking The Chip

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The Mexican army's May 5 victory in 1862's Battle of Puebla is a pretty small holiday in Mexico. But in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has grown into a kind of Mexican St. Patrick's Day. So this weekend, in honor of that holiday, thousands of Americans will be dipping tortilla chips into guacamole, and when they do they'll have an important decision to make: how best to dip without breaking the chip.

"When you're working with standard triangular chips, you can either hold one point and dip two points, or you can hold a straight edge and dip one point," The Sporkful's Dan Pashman tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

Pashman says that while it may be tempting to dip two points – more surface area means more guac, right? – just don't. According to Isaac Gaetz, a structural engineer Pashman consulted, that approach puts too much strain on the chip. And instead of flat triangles, Gaetz advises looking through the bowl for bent, undulating chips.

"It's kind of like a dome shape," Gaetz says. "A natural, very strong shape in compression is an arch, and a 3-D arch is a dome."

And what's a dome if not an upside-down scoop — or scoop chip, which you can find an entire bag of at the grocery store. For some, the scoop chip represents a serious low point in chip design, but Pashman may be about to change that:

"I present to you now my new 'It's Not A Scoop, It's A Dome' technique for chip and guacamole consumption: Take the scoop chip, put it on the tip of your pointer finger upside down like a thimble; brace it with your thumb; run it through all the guac you desire and it will not break. Just make sure the guac is in a bowl with extra space and high walls, which you'll need for leverage."

Then eat and repeat.


Recipe: Raisin The Roof Guacamole

Contributed by Sofia Frank and Anthony DiSanti.

(Vegan, gluten-free. Makes 2 cups guacamole.)

Sofia Frank and Anthony DiSanti took home the People's Champion award at 2011's Guactacular with this Thai-inspired guacamole. Who would have thought raisins could be such a guac-picker-upper?

2 tablespoons diced white onion

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 small tomatillo, husked and diced

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon diced roasted garlic

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes

2 teaspoons chopped raisins

1-1/4 teaspoons curry powder

Salt and black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the diced onion, jalapeno, tomatillo, cilantro and garlic.

Add the avocado and lime juice to the diced ingredients. Using a fork, mix the ingredients together while also mashing the avocado.

Add the coconut, raisins and curry powder and mix to combine.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

From Ultimate Nachos by Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson. Copyright 2013 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Griffin.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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