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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dr. Oz’s crudités are a lesson in how not to serve them. Here are better options.

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post)

Mehmet Oz knows a lot of things about things of which I know nothing. Heart surgery, for one, and what it’s like to chill with Oprah or run for the Senate.

But let’s be clear: The man would flunk a test on crudités, and I feel comfortable saying this as a human who has more than once cut up vegetables, stuck them on a tray with a bowl of dip and offered them to her fellow Earthlings. That’s more than we can say for the TV-famous doctor turned Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat who recorded a bizarre video of himself in the produce aisle of a supermarket where he assembles a bunch of ingredients (ostensibly to make crudites), then blames President Biden for what he deems to be high prices. The video was originally posted by Oz’s campaign in April but went viral this week.

Our colleague Philip Bump has written about what Oz seems to get wrong about the cost of the goods in the grocery store. But the Voraciously team also felt it necessary to point out what he’s getting wrong about the dish itself, which, to be fair, he does say his wife is making. In the video, he’s just the shopper.

Good news for crudite lovers in Pennsylvania: Salsa prices are steady

But the truth is that crudités don’t have to be complicated, store-bought or expensive, as the good doctor seems to want you to believe. Folks (as at least one politician we can think of would say), we’re just talking about vegetables and dip. Some might even call it a “veggie platter,” which seems even less daunting. And on the principle that I don’t like to yuck anyone’s yum, I don’t want to say the two dips that Oz selects — “we need some guacamole,” he curiously declares, picking up a package of the premade variety, then also selecting a tub of premade fresh salsa — aren’t allowed on a vegetable platter. But there are far, far better accoutrement to offer your guests.

Another odd aspect of his menu planning is revealed after he has selected broccoli, asparagus, carrots, salsa and guacamole (which accounted for a big chunk of the total) — that he has spent $20, “and that doesn’t include the tequila.” The tequila? Perhaps he’s making margaritas? (In which case, he might want to snag some limes while he’s near the fruit section?)

All of which is to say that if Mehmet Oz invites you over for cocktail hour, I’d advise you to say no, unless dipping carrot sticks into salsa and doing shots of Cuervo sounds good to you. And while we appreciated the response to Oz’s video from his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who tweeted himself pointing to a prepared plastic-packaged veggie tray, we can help you do better than that, too.

There’s no need for such a sad spread when there’s a world of superior dips out there, from creamy ranch dressing (hey, you can even get a great store-bought version that’s not too pricey) to decked-out hummus.

Herbed Goat Cheese Dip, above. Tangy cheese swirled with bright herbs and lemon zest is the basis of an Instagram-worthy spread.

Carrot Hummus. Oz did grab a massive bag of carrots in that video — he’d do well to use some of them for this earthy accompaniment to pita chips and vegetables.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. Crisp vegetable slices dunked in a zippy ranch dressing is a classic of this genre, and proof positive that the simplest dishes are often the best. This buttermilk-and-herb version gets an added umami boost from MSG, but it’s great without it, too.

Holiday Vegetable Platter With Herbed Avocado Dip. Swap that wan grocery guac for a dip worthy of a celebratory meal. Avocados and low-fat Greek yogurt give this one creaminess without the heft.

White Bean Dip With Lemony Pesto and Crudités. A can of cannellini beans is the basis for this easy Italian-influenced starter. Toasted pine nuts give it texture and visual appeal.