Friday, October 31, 2008

A week's worth of tasty

New yogurt

A new brand of yogurt called Rachel's (made in Broomfield, CO) caught my eye at Whole Foods. I bought 5 flavors for a total of $3 and commenced to the taste-testing each morning at work. Good news! I kept notes for you.

1. Marionberry Guava - First of all, I learned that a Marionberry is a type of blackberry. I learned that from the internet, not from the yogurt. This is pleasingly tart (a word I use a lot because it's a flavor I seek out) and fruity. The texture is smooth with just a hint of lumpiness. I could tell right away that this was not the yogurt of my youth. It's much more sophisticated and, well, delicious.

2. Pink Grapefruit Lychee is another nicely tart flavor, I detect layers of both types of fruit in there. It really tastes fresh and special.

3. Mango Pineapple Passion Fruit is my favorite of the five I picked out. A pineapple sweetness peeks through the richness of mango, while a banana back note adds a smooth and creamy depth.

4. Exotic Cherry Black Currant has a familiar "cherry vanilla" yogurt color but a much more intensely fruity flavor. The lids have started spitting a good deal of yogurt if I don't tear them off carefully, but that's a minor concern.

5. Pomegranate Açai, which was the first flavor on whose label I noticed the trademarked phrase "Wickedly Delicious," is an "Essence" flavor (as opposed to the other category of "Exotic" yogurts). This yogurt is extremely aromatic, which is apparently part of the "Essence" experience. Unfortunately, I think the company sacrificed something to get at this aromatherapy-in-yogurt concept. This was my least favorite flavor. For one thing, it was an unappealing old salmon pinky-brown. It also tasted the most artificial of the yogurts I tried, bringing to mind harshly fruity candy. ETA: However! This is Kevin's favorite flavor so far, he told me. So don't skip it on my account if you're into the tart and the scented and the yogurt.

Yogurt is a pretty straightforward snack, even with such unusual flavors. One of the few confusing things about these yogurts is that there are so many variations on the packaging. I do think they all said they were hormone-free with probiotics and omega-3 DHA "for the heart, brain and eyes," but otherwise there were too many names, categories, and trademarked slogans.

Some of the yogurts are marked "Exotic" (Marionberry Guava, for one). Others are "Vitality" (Pomegranate Açaí) or "Refresh" (Pink Grapefruit Lychee), but I gather those are "Exotic," too. I guess each flavor is either "Exotic" or "Essence," but beyond that some of the flavors have "catchy conceptual" names in addition to the names of the fruit flavors they capture.

There's a page on Rachel's website that explains the categories, but I think what they've come up with is a little more complex than necessary, especially as most people do not seek out the website of the yogurt they found at Whole Foods. They could have just had "Essence" and "Exotic" and left it at that. Or just name the flavors after the fruit represented inside!

One could argue that these yogurts are a bit overwrought, but that's a small quibble after what I feel was a delicious discovery. I'll certainly be seeking out more flavors.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One down...


When R. read my post on The Sweet Hundred, she noticed a familiar item in the list of treats I've never tried.

"hey - i have had a nanaimo bar!! only thing on your list of things you haven't had that i've definitely had. i think it's big in the PNW."

In a delicious twist of fate, she then visited the Pacific Northwest and brought back some Nanaimo bars!

Despite being individually packaged, these Canadian treats (named after Nanaimo, British Columbia) remained moist, chewy, and homemade-tasting.

By the way, Internet legend has it that the mascot of the city of Nanaimo, BC is a giant Nanaimo bar named Nanaimo Barney, but the fact that I have been unable to discover a picture of said mascot makes me suspicious of that story.

How to pronounce nanaimo

This very real Nanaimo bar (pronunciation notes included for your edification), has the traditional three layers, though sometimes the top layer is solid chocolate. The nuts in the crust are walnuts and the coconut must be melted in there somewhere, but I really didn't taste it.

The Nanaimo seems to be both about texture (crumbly crust; creamy and rich pudding/custard layer) and sweetness (powdered sugar galore!), which combine tantalizingly in the no-bake bar. I approve this as a potential potluck dessert. Love!

If you come across these (I hear they're big at Starbucks), I recommend only eating one at a sitting - no more. I don't want anyone going into the sugar shack - I mean sugar shock.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coo, coo, tickle, tickle...

Who's the best Sun Chip flavor? Who is? 'Oo could it be, silly billy chippie?

Garden Salsa

Why, you are. That's right, ickle wickle cutie pie. You. Boop!

Caramel corny

Oh, no.

Just when it seemed all of the caramel corn at work had finally been consumed, more showed up. We'll be huddled in the corners crying hysterical, sugary tears in a few days.

Caramel Corn

By the by, caramel candy corn is even sweeter than the reg'lar stuff. And the chocolate tips of the "Indian Corn" are a bit like I imagine an edible pencil might taste. "More, please," she growled savagely, hating herself.

Chips ahoy.

Spicy Creole

Zapp's Limited Edition Spicy Creole Tomato potato chips are "spiked with McIlhenny Co. Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce.

Made in Gramercy, Louisiana, these taste like a solid (crispy) virgin bloody Mary - slightly sweet, fruity and faintly vegetal (not unlike the tomato), with layers of fruit and spice. Right on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Poetry Tuesday: Wendu Brought Halloween cookies and icing to work!

Photo Credit: Jeremy!

On Halloween I like to dress up and go trick-or-treating.
I get lots of candy.
My sister wants to be Raggedy Anne or a witch.
I want to be Princess Leia from Star Wars.
I can't wait for Halloween.
I also might be a clown.

(Written for a first grade extra-credit assignment in 1982)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Surprise snickerdoodle!

You know what's nice? Having a really awesome friend who only lives three blocks away (this is especially nice in NYC) so you can just walk over to her house anytime (keeping in mind guidelines of common courtesy). And then, something else that's nice is when she goes out of town for a week she gives you some groceries that could go bad while she's away (cream, apples, fresh herbs) so you can use them. And then, what else is nice is when you open up the bag she gave you and find that there are also some cookies she made in there. And what's really nice? They're snickerdoodles! I love snickerdoodles. These were made without cream of tartar, she told me, but it's really hard to tell.

It's like a cookie fairy visited my refrigerator while I was sleeping. Thanks, cookie fairy!

Here is a picture of snickerdoodles made for last year's cookie party. Never too many snickerdoodles. Say it again. Snickerdoodle!


p.s. Cookie fairy: I used the lemon thyme on some roasted butternut squash and other vegetables. Yum.

No nuthin!

The promise

I know a guy named Ian (no relation to these popcorn turkey corn dog bites). He thought these sounded gross. I thought:

a) I like corn dogs
b) I like vegetarian corn dogs
c) My sister likes mini corn dog bites
d) I like turkey dogs
e) The picture on the box is kind of cute. It has what looks like an otter in a cape proclaiming, "I'm a Superfit Kid!"

That was not a multiple choice question, but if it had been the answer is:


Notice again what the box says:

No Wheat!

No Gluten!
No Casein!
No Milk!
No Eggs!
No Nuts!
No Soy!

In another spot it also mentions it has no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hormones.

Let's get that box open:

The first look

We can call this:

No Curb Appeal!

At this point I could tell these corn dog bites were not going to be as cute as they looked on the box. But I cooked them up anyway. I didn't know they were going to have

No Redeeming Flavors!

The letdown

They looked like cut-rate chicken nuggets, but I took a couple of bites. Hard-ish on the outside, mushy on the inside, the texture was unpleasant each time. My first thought was, "needs gluten." There was really no corn flavor to the grainy, too-salty coating and the turkey dog bits inside tasted rubbery. I hope no one tries these and thinks that's as good as a turkey dog can taste. To add insult to injury, it made ordinary mustard taste gross - sharp and bitter. How did it ruin mustard for me? I couldn't finish the serving, and I'm always mindful of wasting food. Just - blerg.

No thanks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Infamous Star Cookies

A week or two ago, I noticed the pharmacy in my neighborhood had a hand-lettered sign in the window announcing something to the effect of "Star Cookies on sale soon!" I quickly forgot about the notice after idly wondering what "Star Cookies" are. Perhaps that could be the brand name for those butter cookies in the blue tins. Do people really get that excited about those? I was wrong (those are Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies I was thinking of), but I didn't really think more about the coming "Star Cookies" at the time.

Then, today, on my way home from work I saw this announcement:

Promises, promises

Either these are a local favorite or someone thought pretending they're highly anticipated locally would be a clever advertising angle. Worked on me.

I found a huge display of these boxes of star-shaped cookies in the store.

Shrink-wrapped stars

The nonpareils got to me, too. I can't resist those easily. I hustled home and unwrapped the box in the fading light.

Graham stars

According to the back of the box, these "Chocolaty Stars" are "graham crackers enrobed with all natural fudge." They are made by Stauffer Biscuit Company in York, PA and are apparently seasonal cookies (only out around the winter holidays).

Anyway, I ate four. And then two more. And then two more. They smell like chocolate-covered graham crackers. They taste like chocolate-covered graham crackers (with nonpareils on top). I like chocolate-covered graham crackers. It's a simple combination and simply terrific.

If these are a neighborhood favorite, I'm feeling more and more at home here.

My tongue hurts.


My top 5 sweet-and-sour-make-your-tongue-burn candies of the moment:
1. Chewy Spree
2. Sour Patch Kids
3. SweeTARTS (But you know what almost ruined SweeTARTS for me? Trying to navigate the Wonka website.)
4. Giant Pixy Sticks
5. Lemonheads

Sweet script

Two days ago I ate a small roll of SweeTARTS found at work. I'd never seen this size before. Looks like somebody's jumping on the Smarties bandwagon. In the middle of eating them, while enjoying the cursive script of the "Swee" etched into each candy, Jeff offered me a Sour Patch Kid.

It was like being punched in the tongue while it was already bleeding - but with a fist of sour deliciousness.

Burning through the Pastilles

Fruit Pastilles

Only three other people got to try these Fruit Pastilles from Anastasia's UK Snack Sampler because all four of us enjoyed them (especially me) enough that they were soon gone.

Half eaten

Containing real fruit juice, these are chewy, sugar crusted gumdrop+haribo gummi fruit+lifesaver hybrids. Never bad, they only get better as they're chewed, finishing in a sweetly fruity way.

Kitchen Tools and Other Dupes

Finished Daisycloth

I've been reading a variety of food-related weblogs since starting my own. In general, I've been inspired far more than I've been annoyed. But in agreeing with a recent post on Smitten Kitchen*, I was reminded how much "my husband won't eat ____, so I can't cook ____" posts or comments on food sites have confounded me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about excluding ingredients because of food allergies or dietary choices like veganism. Also, choosiness is not a big deal when the picky eater prepares his or her own food and doesn't enforce his/her rules on others. I don't think people should be forced to eat food they don't like (though it might "build character," or stretch the palate if done judiciously).

I do think it's too bad when a cook or eater is limited by his/her partner's palate, especially when there are statements being made that I feel give evidence of a certain level of arbitrariness, silliness and exaggeration on the picky eater's part (such as, "He doesn't like vegetables" or "He won't eat anything green").

I will admit that I have a fairly low tolerance for irrationally (yeah, that's a subjective word) picky eaters in general (it slows everybody down; why enable it?) and I would not be able to suffer the fool gladly if my husband fell into that category. But I also don't like the sexism lurking behind the assumption that a woman should only cook what her partner likes to eat.

I see sexism here because, so far, I have only witnessed these "I can't cook x because my significant other won't eat it" comments being made by women about their husbands or boyfriends. I'm sure there are exceptions out there and examples of men cooking for picky women or LGBTQ?UI2APO couples/groups in which this is an issue, but I haven't run across any yet - and I expect they're in the minority.

Also, I suspect there are men (and perhaps women) who think it is "macho" for a man to not like vegetables, which is ridiculous, and who might therefore play up what is actually mild distaste for a few specific vegetables prepared specific ways - or a general preference for meat dishes - in order to seem more stereotypically manly.

I'm also interested in the history and reality of the sociocultural role of "woman in the kitchen," but I'll set that aside for now, before this post gets even more complex and semi-colon-y, saying only that I do think that "Who Cooks for Whom - and When, and What and Who Cleans Up?" ought to be a topic of conversation in every new partnership - and should never be automatically decided based on biology or gender.

Whew. Hold on. Nobody who likes to cook or eat needs to step out of the kitchen at this point. But I played around with making some rules and will consider myself free to adjust them as needed - in the interest of equity. I know; life isn't fair. My mom always said so. But here are some of my personal Fair Kitchen Rules (subtitled: Don't be a Tool):

1. As long as there are at least two capable adults/children over twelve eating and living in my house (including me), I do not desire to be and therefore will not be the only person who prepares meals.

2. With a few birthday-type exceptions, I am not going to make an entire meal or main dish I don't like if the person who does like it could make it for him or herself.

3. I will not make a habit of not preparing foods that I want to eat because my spouse has a stubborn aversion to an ingredient or the idea of an entire food group (vegetables, fruit, etc.). I will sometimes be willing to modify recipes I want to try within reason and keeping in mind my own taste.

4a. If the sight or smell of a dish or ingredient [example: hard boiled eggs] being prepared legitimately, physically grosses someone in my household out I will try to make it only when that person is out of the house - unless it can't be avoided for some social/medical/emotional reason, in which case I will at least try to warn him/her in advance that I'm about to work with [hardboiled eggs (or whatever)] in his/her vicinity.

4b.If the "grossing out" is found to be accompanied by uncontrollable vomiting, I will make the item in question only when that prone-to-reverse-peristalsis person is out of the house long enough for me to create the food, consume it entirely, dispose of the evidence, and air out our living space.

5. If another adult or child in my house makes something I have never had that does not appear on my "I'm allergic to or have a moral/ethical aversion to eating that" list and is not inedible, I will try it. Others living or eating with me aren't required to do the same with food I prepare, but I will respect them more if they do.


And etc. I live in a situation in which we are both open to sharing the cooking, both like food, and also are both fairly non-picky eaters, so it may be that I am lucky, but I think something halfway equitable can be worked out for any open-minded, reasonable family members (or even set of friendly roommates who share kitchen duties) who care about each other.

It's not really about rules or declarations, either. Here's the gist: I make us things I want to eat some nights. Other nights, he makes us things he wants to eat. Some nights we make things together we both want to eat. Rarely, one of us makes something he/she knows the other person really likes even it isn't a personal favorite. If there's something one of us doesn't like that the other person has made we usually try it anyway. If it is a major problem, the person feeling disgusted or not-that-into-it can just make himself or herself something else. And, of course, there are far too many nights we just go out to eat.

Finally, and I recognize this solution does not help stay-at-home-parents with uncooperative spouses (or work-at-home parents), if no one but me will eat it and there are too many leftovers I'll take it in to work. They'll eat anything there.

* These thoughts came together in semi-coherent format because I agree with the writer of the mentioned Smitten Kitchen post, who said, "I often read comments and emails from people who talk about liking or wanting to make a dish but they can’t “because my significant other doesn’t like [insert ingredient]!” I have to admit, I am often perplexed. If they want to eat it, why don’t they just make it anyway?" Right on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poetry Tuesday - Visiting Day: Snack Jail (1)

Tiny candies shake
Powd'ry hands and twitch in place;
Sugar drifts like sand.

Sweet Tarts chew

Bright colors can't hide
The sorrow of the tongue's heart
In its limping chew.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Everlasting, schmeverlasting.

Leering Gobstopper

Another item from Tia's snack sampler was a box of Wonka Everlasting Gobstoppers, My opinion is that no one who has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Great Glass Elevator can ever be satisfied by the real-life Wonka brand candies. Actually, I'm usually disappointed by hard candies, but am not unhappy to give 'em a whirl (though I am suspicious of the eyelids at half mast on the anthropomorphized candy on the box pictured above).

So, these are "Jawbreakers that change colors and flavors."

Oh, do they?

GREEN tastes like lime, then maybe cherry, then turns a sickly green color that changes to yellowish and then is white and then pink. The flavor fades away from lime and cherry but never makes anything else of itself.

RED has that cherry candy flavor (have I ever mentioned that I like cherry Luden's cough drops?) and fades to light orange with maybe an orange flavor pretty quickly. Then the orange becomes brighter and more Tang-y. Orange fades and goes to whitish orange, then pink and sweetly sour. Then I get impatient and bite it in half. It is powdery white the rest of the way in to the center of its core.

PURPLE is grossly, cloyingly grape and fake tasting right off the bat, then becomes a dark pinkish red. Soon speckled with white, it gets generically sweet tasting and a darker pink-red. Maybe there's some cherry flavor in there, but it could be my imagination. Two white stripes develop on either side of the Gobstopper's equator at this point. It looks like a dark salmon pool ball. Then the stripes consume the candy until it is all white with a faint pink tinge and has a familiar sour candy tanginess (while still being sweet) and powderiness.

YELLOW has a strong "tastes like the way lemonheads smell" start as the color deepens and becomes more orange and then less orange. I notice those white stripes around the middle again before it gets pinky and starts breaking up. I'm tired of eating these now.

ORANGE is a solid ball of McDonald's orange drink in the big cooler at a playground picnic, but sweeter. The flavor changes a bit (but to what? It's kind of grassy) and the color goes yellow. White stripes come in around the center again (this probably happened on all of them) and then it's white and faintly pink and melting away. Crunch crunch.

p.s. I kept tipping the box over and then gobstoppers would roll all over the floor. This is not very stable packaging for something shaped like a marble. I didn't want to eat the whole box myself, but neither do other people want to share something I've dropped on the floor 6 times.

Well-traveled chocolate

I am the chocolate traveler.

I cracked open the first item in my Seattle-area and misc. snack sampler from friend and former coworker Tia. I was attracted to this tin of chocolate wedges because, due to its having been mailed from the West Coast, it has already fulfilled the brand's ambitions of being a chocolate traveler. Were this not the case, I would find the name a little perplexing.

This is a milk chocolate product that also contains "chocolate liquor" as an ingredient, but there is no liquor flavor. It's just basic, mild milk chocolate in a pleasantly portable form and clever triangular shape (I like triangles and consider them all clever). I have, in general but with exceptions, grown more fond of dark chocolate than milk chocolate. This is not an exception to that rule, but I didn't dislike these traveling chocolates, either.

So, they're kinda no big whoop, but I'm okay with that.

Type of triangle: isosceles.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Early Release

Whoa. Inedible.

Here's something that didn't belong in Snack Jail. This box of sparklers(?) has been fully cleared of being edible. I'm not even sure who incarcerated this thing.

Go nuts, donuts.

If you're in Chinatown in NYC, I recommend the donuts from Doughnut Plant on Grand. I've had a chocolate ("Blackout?") donut with a pudding filling, a coconut cream, an apple cinnamon, a pumpkin, one with whipped cream and crunchies on top, and more. They're tender and fresh-tasting, not to mention wildly superior to the sometimes-stale offerings at Dunkin' Donuts (though I'll still go to DD when in a Boston Creme or Blueberry Cake mood)

My favorite soccer player brought these back to Brooklyn after a game one recent Saturday. That was a happy Saturday.

More, Please. (MoPle?)


Snackreligious is under a year old and I'm still hungry, so let's keep going.

This November (2008) will be my first opportunity to participate in NaBloPoMo, which stands for National Blog Posting Month and was inspired by NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I've signed up to join the list of participants on their website and will do my part by blogging every day for the month of November. This might get a little tricky, especially around the holidays, but I hope to make it happen. I was posting every day for a while when I first started logging snacks on this site, so I think it's plausible to do so again.

Thank you to all the readers who have been commenting - on posts, via email, or in person - letting me know you're reading and enjoying Snackreligious. It makes the photography, writing, and posting more fun for me (the snacking I'd enjoy even in a vacuum -- well, not in a space literally empty of all matter or while trapped inside a vacuum cleaner, but you get the picture). And thanks in advance to those of you who keep me going in the month to come!

Smartie(s) Pants.


Not these Smarties, which will always be "Real Smarties" in my mind [Do not confuse our Smarties® with Nestlé chocolate Smarties.Copyright© Smarties® 2008. All Rights Reserved.
Smarties® are licensed to be sold in the United States and its possessions only.]
, but the chocolate candy kind that resemble M&Ms and are sold in countries outside the U.S.

I found a hidden cache of snacks from Anastasia's UK snack sampler, including a cardboard tube of "Other Smarties" (okay, they were in the refrigerator so they wouldn't melt).

There are eight colors of Other Smarties represented in differing amounts in my tube: orangey red (2), grass green (6), yellow (5), reddish purple (5), warm brown (2), sky blue (5), dull tangerine orange (5), and a bright pink (4).

I had heard that the individual colors tastes different from one another. The orange Smarties had a strong chocolate orange flavor. The red Smarties tasted faintly "red," and perhaps like cherry. Browns had a kind of sharp, bitter coating and yellows did have a citrus taste. The others were indistinctly flavored like chocolate and sugar (not unlike M&Ms).

Pause for disclaimer: I apologize to you all that I didn't have any M&Ms in the house to compare directly. I don't generally plan my snacks out thoughtfully enough in advance to do comparisons like this. Perhaps I've learned a lesson about responsible snack reportage I can use in the future.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Other Smarties have a good density and taste truly chocolatey. The orange was my favorite Smartie (Smarty?) by far. I'm not a M&M fangirl, though I like them in a "okay, sure, I'll have some" sort of way, and I don't prefer one chocolate candy orb over the other, but I would choose a whole tube or bag of the orange Smarties over any other color or assortment of Smarties or M&Ms.

No, I wouldn't eat the red ones last. So there.

p.s. Just because there are "No artificial colours or flavours" in there doesn't mean that insects aren't used to make some of the colors.

Are you a good 'wich or a bad 'wich? Which?!

Peanut butter cream'wich

This week I tried a Peanut Butter Cream'Wich sandwich cookie on display at the counter at 'Wichcraft. I was there to get a sandwich*, but sometimes a dessert catches one's eye. And it was quite good. The outside of the cookie was flaky and rich; the filling inside was melting and strongly flavored with peanut butter. Something about the texture and taste reminded me of the Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich cookies I used to enjoy.

It's perhaps a little smaller than a cookie that costs a dollar really should be, but I've made a lot of cookies in my day and tend to think they're overpriced. Given that this cookie lives in generally-overpriced-food territory (NYC), I don't think a dollar is too much to pay if you're giving yourself a peanut butter treat in the middle of a workday. Once or twice a year, maybe.

*About that sandwich:
My favorite sandwich in the Union Square/Astor Place neighborhoods in Manhattan is grilled gruyère & caramelized onions on rye bread at 'Wichcraft. Warm, gooey, and smooth, it's actually the only sandwich I have ever ordered there. I've tried their sides with mixed results. The marinated chickpeas were a little dry. The potato salad needed more flavor. But that sandwich. Ah, that sandwich. It is enchanting.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Snapshot Review: Deep River Snacks Salt & Vinegar

New friend

Progo and I have a new favorite salt and vinegar potato chip. The slices are thick and crunchy; the flavor is like sour, biting velvet. That's a good description of the cat, too. But I hope not me.

Snapshot Review: Brach's Autumn Mix

Autumn Mix

Almost everyone at work got a little sick of candy corn yesterday.


The pumpkins taste denser and richer, a little like circus peanuts (though different in texture).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apples equal pie.

(Photo credit: DanF)

The orchard we visited had at least one apple for every child visiting that day, who numbered roughly a bazillion. We only brought one child, who was too tiny to pick apples but found the day tiring, nonetheless.

Apple picking is tiring.

What the orchard lacked was signs announcing which apples were which variety. I think I may have come away with mostly Galas. Delicious.

Anyway, I have already mentioned the trip (where we were and so on), so I'll skip ahead. Pie is what matters now.

Pies in progress
(Photo credit: DanF)

That's an in-progress shot of what became two (one for home; one for work) apple pies with a cheddar cheese top crust (no bottom crust). The recipe can be found on

I do love cheese, but somehow I've never been interested in eating apple pie with a slice of cheese on top. When I read this recipe calling for cheese to be baked into the crust I was more intrigued. And the results were excellent, despite how fiddly and fragile the crust was (it took two people and a pastry cloth to flip each crust onto its pie plate).

Slices got good reviews from friends, family, and coworkers. An autumnal success!

Pie goes to work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gentlemen at snack.

Flash bar

From the blog of Matt Cassity:

Wednesday — Poker night. August won. I made a menu of snacks curated by


True. My new occupation: Snack Curator.

Here are the items we discussed as possible poker night snacks.

Matt's restrictions:
No stove top or microwave
(He does have a toaster oven and a crock pot. I didn't even utilize the crock pot. Next time.)

Idea one: Cheese toasts. You can put garlic or different spices on them. Or just cheese. I don't think he made these, but thinking about them made me want some.

Idea two: Globe grapes scooped out and filled with goat cheese then the goat cheese part can be dipped in chopped, salted pistachios. Matt couldn't find globe grapes so did this with cherry tomatoes.

Idea three: Provencal Olives (recipe below)
If you have 24 hours, you can refrigerate this mixture (anywhere from 24 hours to 1 week) and then strain the liquid off before serving:
3 c. black or green whole olives (not canned)
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T. sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (coarsely ground)
1 T. chopped fresh (or 1/2 T dry) rosemary
1 1/2 T chopped fresh (or 3/4 tsp dry) thyme

Idea four: Union Square Care Bar Nuts (recipe below)
preheat (toaster) oven to 350 F
On baking sheet (or toaster oven equivalent), spread 1 1/4 lbs assorted unsalted nuts (Matt featured the Brazil nut, which is a crowd-pleaser of a nut if there is such a thing.)
Toast in oven until golden, about 10 min.
While toasting, in large bowl mix:
2 T. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
Toss nuts with mixture. Serve warm.

There was also some discussion of figs.

Even more religious snacking


I was raised in a strong church potluck tradition. One member of my childhood congregation called us the "Eat 'til You Die Baptist Church." I remain appreciative of good church potluck spreads.

But I thought that the ordination service I attended this past Sunday was only being followed by a basic "reception." You know -- nuts in a bowl, pillow mints, punch. I was wrong. That's not how this NYC church rolls. First, I saw that there were copious desserts. I ate a brownie immediately.

The sweet side

And then I walked to the other side of the table. Savory stuff, too?! Belinda Carlisle was right.
The savory side

By the way, I had a lot of some sort of cheese ball with what I think was jelly or preserves in the middle (to be spread together on crackers). Wow. It was so weird looking I knew it had to be excellent.

A Beautiful View

Pumpkin Peeping

First of all, let me just say I've never heard of "leaf peeping" and I think that any kind of "peeping" sounds creepy. But apparently that's what folks in New England call driving around looking at fall foliage.

On Saturday we did more than foliage fondling. We went apple picking with some generous-with-their-friendship-and-their-car neighbors. And after an early afternoon at Applewood Orchards (near Warwick, NY) we headed into town to eat.

Before hitting the Harpoon Bay Clam Bar I peeped a pumpkin ice cream even lovelier than the view from atop "Mt. Peter" while stopped at Bellvale Farms Creamery. Such a thickly rich, slightly spicy creaminess was perfect for the early fall day. Open through December!


The Sweet Hundred

Here's a photo of someone sweet decorating something sweet to start us off (taken a few years ago on a field trip to Christopher Norman Chocolates). Yeah, the link is weak, but I like the shot.

Now - remember the Omnivore 100? There have been several permutations since (Vegetarian 100, Vegan 100, British 100, etc.) that didn't interest me all that much (not that I don't like vegetarian or vegan food), but now someone's made a list of foods to try for those of us who enjoy the sweet stuff (it's mostly baked goods, though, not candy or chocolates). See Cakespy for the original Sweet 100 list.

Once again, I ask, "Who remembers every food they've ever tried?" I had to add the category of foods that sound really familiar and which I probably have eaten. I've also adapted the instructions given so that instead of bolding or changing the text color of things I've eaten (which never looks right and is hard to read when some things are linked), I just split the items up into their categories. Here are the instructions that I didn't follow, in case you like rules.

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten--or make them a different type color.
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.
5) Optional: Post a comment here linking to your results--or just post a comment letting us know how many you've tried, or what you're going to try next!

I've eaten you (54):
1. Red Velvet Cake
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie

9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls")
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
21. Blondies
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
30. King Cake
32. Pavlova
34. Trifle
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
42. Pizzelle
44. Buckeyes
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
60. Pop Tarts
62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
79. Cannoli
82. Petits fours
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
93. S'mores
99. Animal crackers

I am pretty sure I've eaten you but I am not positive I remember correctly (17):
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
26. Baked Alaska
33. Tres Leches Cake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
48. Boston Cream Pie
52. Rusks
59. Jelly Roll
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
69. Churro
70. Stollen
80. Rainbow cookies
83. Chocolate Souffle
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
97. Sables

I know I haven't eaten you yet (29):
2. Princess Torte
10. Kringle
20. Alfajores
22. Croquembouche
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
31. Sachertorte
35. Shoofly Pie
41. Anzac biscuits
43. Kolache
45. Malasadas
51. Gooey butter cake
61. Charlotte Russe
63. Hummingbird Cake
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
78. Cassata
81. Religieuse
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
92. Gateau Basque
94. Figgy Pudding
96. Joe Froggers
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
100. Basbousa

I could never eat you:
*Funny. Nothing ended up in this category.

The key is lime.

Florida's Finest

I've been to Miami. Twice. Why didn't I run into these down there? Thanks for bringing them back with you, Paul!


Despite (or because of) the four types of sugar (sugar, corn syrup, invert sugar, invertase), these are pretty tasty.

Key LIme Patty

Sure, they could use more lime on the inside and more chocolate on the outside (why not enrobe?), but they're moist and dense and sweetly charming. Just like you.

I am spoiled rotten.

Special delivery

It is after midnight, which makes it Wednesday, which means I can tell you this without having to write it as a Poetry Tuesday poem (I love Poetry Tuesday, but a prose post about this will be faster):

Just as I am one final item (well, not including a couple of teas) away from completing my survey of the snacks in the box Anastasia sent me from the UK, I received a new box of sweet, sweet trouble sent from Washington State. Some of the goodies are regional treats and/or unfamiliar to me. Other items are classic snacks I have not written about yet here. All are inspiring great waves of emotion and gratitude.

Oh, Tia, thank you. My tongue hurts just looking at this stuff.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black Jack

Black Jack

gives me
the icks
even when British it sticks
in my craw.
Anise is always a flaw.*
(Though I never saw this kind before,
it's out the door).

give me
a kiss.
I see now you're Irish
and that I've been childish
to call you a foe.
Here's less woe and more sweet:
Black Jack's a rare treat.

*exception: I can appreciate a shot of Sambuca after a heavy Italian meal, for some reason.
p.s. We're almost through the UK Snack Sampler! Oh, and have a happy Poetry Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Adorable; inedible.

Big Chuck, little Chucks

Fueled by caramel popcorn rice cakes with peanut butter, I finally finished knitting the second Baby Chuck bootie from Brooklyn Handmade. It's hard to snack while knitting because my hands are full of needles and yarn, but I'm working on integrating the two. I'd really rather not get peanut butter on my wool. But I'm peckish. But I don't want to stop knitting. It's a sickness.

My brainstorming so far: candy necklaces/bracelets, big bowl of popcorn I can dip my face in without stopping my hands (mostly kidding about that one), hard candies, berries strung together on a thread.

Knitters and other hands-full hobbyists, how do you snack to keep up the strength while your fingers are busy? And on what?

p.s. The tops of my booties roll, which makes sense because they're done in stockinette stitch. But the tops of the booties in the picture on the link do not seem to roll. Why is this? Has anyone made these with a non-rolling edge? I think I'd like that better.

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