Hello blog readers. Today I am handing over the reins to my friend Robyn. She is a master of all things snackalicious and a self-proclaimed “snackologist.” We here at STC headquarters agree. So, you’ll hear from her occasionally about her snack-tastic creations and learn more about the art – and science – of snackology. Because really, sometimes all you need to satisfy the craving is…a snack. Enjoy.
When it comes to snacks, I have a problem. Wandering the supermarket aisles, my mind is on overdrive in an attempt to decipher what my stomach is longing to tell me. It wants snacks – it needs snacks – but what kind? Salty or sweet? Spicy or sour? Squishy or scrunchy? Sinfully decadent, as in “I’ll start eating better Monday, I promise!” or stick to my guns, recognizing that a diet consisting primarily of sugar isn’t good for anyone apart from dentists. Twenty minutes later I’m no closer to putting anything in my basket than I am to taking a stand on the issue of global warming.
If you must know, I completely blame this problem on two things: my upbringing and my father. In my house, Friday’s “special treat” was popcorn and New York Seltzer. For us kids, the only “sweet” cereal option was Kashi. My father honestly enjoyed the taste sensation of tomatoes on his vanilla ice cream as much as the shock value his taste buds garnered. Are you beginning to understand my genetic necessity to “think outside the box” in order to satisfy my seemingly insatiable cravings?
I’ll be honest – one of the best days of my life took place in Nampa, Idaho, in 1999. It was there that I learned customers can add a second flavor to a Blizzard for only 30 cents more. Are you understanding the significance here, people? A second flavor for 30 cents more – incalculable combinations of soft-served goodness. It doesn’t even matter that I have since graduated college, traveled the world, and gotten married; in the scrapbook of my memory it is that day that will forever live in infamy.
That glorious fall day wasn’t the start of it all; far from it in both time and distance, the taste bud extravaganza of my earliest recollections occurred while eating tacos for dinner at my best friend’s house. I asked her mother for ketchup; but she didn’t want to give it to me because she thought I couldn’t possibly like the taste of ketchup on tacos. Little did she know the refined palate of my 8 year old self. I calmly explained that tacos were very much, in fact, similar to hamburgers, what with cheese, meat and lettuce. Since I liked ketchup on my cheeseburgers, shouldn’t it stand to reason I would like it on my tacos? Touché, little girl, touché.
But I digress. If I were to highlight each and every flavor discovery I’ve ever made, this post would likely rival that of Clarissa, and since I’m really supposed to be working now, I will keep it to this: everyone loves to snack; what makes me different is the way I pimp my snacks on a regular basis. Yup, I’m a self-appointed Snackologist and proud of it.
My only rule in the science of snackology is trying everything at least once before I judge; there is no such thing as a bad idea, there are only bad implementations of possible gold mines. From cottage cheese and horseradish pairings to peppermint bark and peanut butter cups, I follow my impulses like a crack whore looking to score; and score big I do!
Thankfully, at least once a month at Soup Night (a monthly gathering at Sonja’s house), I have a willing and captive (if not a little scared) audience where I can test out my latest creation. Last month’s snacktastic mix – Cheezits and Hot Tamales – not only went over budbusters, but, as most of my stomach-brained unions tend to do, sparked childlike wonder, excited laughter and endless possibilities. The key to Hot Tacheezils? Mixing ahead of time to soak the flavor, and a 2 to 1 ratio that, like your political position, depending on what side you come down on, tends to say a lot about you (in case you’re wondering, my 2 to 1 is Tamale to Cheezit; texture is king!).
One thing is sure: snacks are not the end, but rather the beginning; the very paints and brushes, the tools of living a pimped-snack life available to all, yet present only to those who seek, not with eyes, but with an inner passion for taste adventure. We must rise above the limitations of the finite options found in boxes on store shelves. We deserve more. We deserve snackology.