Wednesday, November 21, 2007

snack seminar

There were 70 pounds of candy (or 1/2 pound per person) at the Night of Writing Dangerously. I ate two pieces. I don't like candy. In fact, I fear snacks in any form. This confession was met with anger and disgust.

The Seminar on Snacks began as just a few spirited opinions. "Gummy Bears are the best!" "Dig these toffee chews!"Then the Seminar grew more introspective: "What are chocolate lentils? Is that a fake M&M?" "Who likes these ice-flavored cough-drop type ones?" "I wonder how many of these I can eat before I throw up?"

However, when repeated attempts to get me to try peppermints (a gateway drug) failed, the Snack Seminar turned ugly. It's not that I fear snacks for health reasons. It's that they're non-food. Doesn't anyone else find that creepy?

Snacks have nothing to do with hunger, nutrition, or time of day. Without any of those motivations to eat, which mechanism triggers snacktime?

You might say, "taste!" But taste is always on. Ergo, so is snacktime. Or if taste can get switched off, how? And if it ever gets switched off, how does you switch it back on again?

That's why snacks confuse and frighten me. I can't deal with the idea of figuring out when to start and stop eating something that clearly has no relationship to 99.99% of my survival instincts. They just make no sense.

Try explaining a snack to a blind person. I mean a space alien. (Don't try explaining it to dogs; they'll understand.) Better yet, try explaining it to me.

If hunger is the trigger, why not just eat actual food? What differentiates a snack from a meal? And let's not bother with a nutrition-based line of reasoning, since virtually all snacks are made from a combination of low-grade drugs and cardboard.

What schedule are snacks on? My guess is that you can't start your first snack until after lunch. And then maybe you can have one after dinner. (Although at that time, depending on the high-fructose corn syrup content, it could conceivably be labeled "dessert.") So that's, at most, two snacks a day. But the aisles at Trader Joe's belie this argument. About 75% of their store is devoted to snacktime. As if that weren't enough, people are inventing new snacks all the time. To what end?

When I was a kid, the Dr. Pepper bottlecaps had 10-2-4 printed on them. To tell you what time you should drink a Dr. Pepper. Their commercials showed people looking at clocks and drinking Dr. Pepper at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. You can still see old Dr. Pepper clocks at public pools, with those times marked in red.

You see, this is what I want for snacks. Clear instructions. How do you choose which snack to consume? When do you consume it? What's the serving size? (Particularly for small stuff like candy or chips.) And most importantly, what might inspire a person to try chocolate-covered edamame?

If you can adequately answer even one of these questions, please post below.

1 comment:

Andy Schmeder said...

Hunger triggers snack time for me. I use snacks to defer lunch or dinner to a later, more convenient time. Sometimes I snack before bed to ward off the dreaded empty-stomach that makes sleep impossible.

Sometimes these are Snacks (tm) as defined by Trader Joes, but not always.

Popular ones are: handful of almonds in yogurt, apple + peanut butter or cheese, and in time-critical or on-the-road situtations, the clif builder bar "peanut butter" flavor (no other bar is worthy).