Seriously, a party isn't a party without some sort of concoction — smooth or chunky — to spread, smear or otherwise deliciously coat that chip, carrot stick or cracker calling your name.

We all have our favorites. Maybe it's the familiar spinach dip in a bread bowl that your mother used to make. Or the chile con queso awaiting a handful of tortilla chips. Mine is a homemade caramelized onion dip that puts Lipton's to shame.

Whatever your preference, the familiar suits the occasion — until it doesn't. That's when you reach for something new, or at least what passes for new to you. Time to whip up a feta-based spread, blend beer and cheese with andouille, or turn the classic pesto sauce into a dip. Those football fans hunkered down in the couch cushions are waiting (and hungry).