From Seinfeld to science: Dip once or dip twice?
Posted: January 31st, 2008 - 12:16am by Doug PowellHarold McGee of the New York Times reports that a new study, to be published later this year in the Journal of Food Safety, is the only one McGee's ever seen to proclaim that it was inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld.”
It was conducted as part of a Clemson University program designed to get undergraduate students involved in scientific research. Prof. Paul L. Dawson, a food microbiologist, proposed it after he saw a rerun of a 1993 “Seinfeld” show in which George Costanza is confronted at a funeral reception by Timmy, his girlfriend’s brother, after dipping the same chip twice.
“Did, did you just double dip that chip?” Timmy asks incredulously, later objecting, “That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!” Finally George retorts, “You dip the way you want to dip, I’ll dip the way I want to dip,” and aims another used chip at the bowl. Timmy tries to take it away, and the scene ends as they wrestle for it.
Peter Mehlman, a veteran “Seinfeld” writer, wrote the episode, and said,
"At the time I was living in Los Angeles, in Venice. There was a party on one of the canals, and apparently someone dipped twice with the same chip. And a woman flipped out. ‘You just dipped twice! How could you do that? Now all your germs are in there!’ I thought, this is just too good not to use on the show.”
The story says that 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.