Brenda Lockhart’s Seven Layer Dip

seven layer dip in glass cup with chips and copy of book

The Lockhart Women opens on the night of June 17, 1994, with Brenda Lockhart stressing about her husband’s unexpected insistence on going to a coworker’s house warming party.

From Chapter One.

“I could have at least made my seven-layer dip,” Brenda says. “I wish you’d given me a little more notice.” Brenda never goes to parties emptyhanded. She’s famous for her dip, her guacamole, and her double fudge Bundt cake. 

Back in the day, I was also famous for my 7-layer dip. I tasted it first at a co-worker’s Princess House party (remember those?) and adopted it as my go to party appetizer from then on. I made it so often that my sister-in-law gave me a special serving dish for Christmas, with Mary Made It inscribed in the front.

(The books here were included in my recent newsletter book giveaway. If you haven’t subscribed to “Life With Riley” you should. I’m always giving away something.)

7 books in a dish inscribed Mary Made It

My recipe (served with tortilla chips) was something like this:
1.    Refried beans
2.    Guacamole
3.    Sour Cream
4.    Chopped Tomatoes
5.    Grated Cheddar Cheese
6.    Black Olives
7.    Green Onions

There are many variations, of course. You can add whatever you want, including books.

There’s no reason to limit the ingredients to 7 either. Or is there?

the number seven with multiple sayings about the number 7

Does the number 7 have special powers?  Mathematician Alex Bellos asked 44,000 people to name their favorite number and over 4,000 of them named the number 7, far more than any other number. Seven is a prime number, which gives it some power. There are 7 days in the week, 7 deadly sins, and something called the 7 year itch. There are all kinds of song lyrics that warn about being the 7th out of 7 sons. The sight of three 7s standing side-by-side on a slot machine is pretty exciting.

The 7 stages of grief are well known—shock, denial, anger, guilt, depression, acceptance and growth—but looking at my “Outstanding Stuff To Deal With” list after my father’s death in February, I’d add a few more stages. Irritated, for example, at the amount of follow up required with credit unions, cable companies, and call centers. Bewildered is another, by his suddenly completely empty apartment after the estate sale. Another stage, enervated, by the mountain of photographs, scrapbooks and albums that I haven’t started to tackle yet.

Perhaps I should adopt some of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey’s bestseller from 1989.  Be proactive, Mr. Covey says. Begin with the end in mind. Put first things first. Think win/win. Seek to understand first, before making yourself understood. Sharpen the saw. Learn to synergize.

From a 2023 vantage point, these “habits” seem more like the kind of poster cliches that Michael Scott from the TV show “The Office” might put on the wall of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

Instead of reading self-help books, I’d rather plan a trip. I haven’t seen any of the 7 wonders of the ancient world—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, or the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

I’ve crossed a few of the modern 7 wonders off my bucket list—Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Italy, and Machu Picchu in Peru—but I haven’t seen the Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan, the Taj Mahal in India, or Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Not yet anyway.

What about you?


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