Brave New Kitchen: Snack Your Way To Finals Success

What makes a good study snack? Well, it better be pretty easy to eat, since you’re saving your focus for that paper (remember?). It should also be easy for others to ignore–I see you, guy thinking about opening that bag of Sunchips and crunching your way through every last chip. And finally, it should be delicious, because odds are you are probably hating life a bit already. (For nutritionist-vetted ideas about energy-creating finals snacking, check out Kelsey’s article from last week.)

For example, a meatball sub is a terrible finals snack. First of all, that thing is going to demand your attention more than that stupid “Say! It looks like you’re writing a letter!” paperclip from Windows ’95. Secondly, it’s messy and your many trips to the bathroom to get more napkins are liable to draw the glares of other students also on the brink of nervous breakdowns. Finally, I do not like them all that much. This might be more of a personal note, but the meatball sub was already on its way to striking out, at least in my case, so I feel alright about that.

Instead, I offer you five fresh ideas for snacks to get you nomming, as the lolcats be saying… Come on, its finals. I know you know what those guys are up to!

1. Dried fruit and nuts: Forget raisins and peanuts, this is college, not girl scout camp. More sophisticated GORP items can be bought at most stores or discreetly snatched from dining hall salad bars. Dried apricots and cranberries taste like someone wrapped candy in a clever fruit disguise. Pumpkin seeds are so delicious that I have to tell myself that they literally did not exist before my sophomore year, because otherwise I’d have to resent all the people in my life who withheld this information from me. Also, did you know that smoked almonds taste like bacon? Well, now you do. In fact, the only reason you should keep reason you should continue reading this instead of running out to buy some is that you are already eating them… in which case, allow me to compliment you on your excellent taste.

2. Edamame: You can pick these up either in your dining hall salad bar or the frozen foods section. They are super healthy and full of protein, so you know, bonus. Put them in the microwave to heat them up and them sprinkle them with salt and it will taste like the appetizer at that sushi restaurant you wish you were at right now. For a multi-sensory study break, close your eyes and play some soothing, ethereal music on your earbuds while you eat each soybean and pretend you are actually there. Or, if you need more of an energy boost, substitute with bhangra music and think to yourself, “Why is this Indian restaurant serving edamame?”

3. Popcorn: Wait, no! Stay away from the microwave! Okay, okay, this is the most cooking-intensive snack I’ll be talking about but in my defense, it tastes like magic and takes about as long as that microwave bag would have taken, so stay with me here. Put a large, lidded pot on the stovetop and turn the heat on medium. Pour in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot with a thin layer. Give the oil a minute or so to heat up before adding the kernels–this means that they will cook instead of just soak up the oil, making your popcorn more healthful. Exact measurements are going to completely depend on your cookware, but the kernals should be roughly 1/4th covered in oil. As soon as you’ve worked this tricky ratio out, put the lid on and shake the pot until the popping stops. Add salt to taste, which, if you are me, draws deer out of the woods to eat my popcorn because it is more enticing than their salt licks. Talk about awkward library situations.

4.”Cheesecake”: Take a graham cracker and spread some cream cheese on one half. Spread some jam on the other half–may I recommend a fine Knott’s raspberry? Or slice up a strawberry if you’re feeling fancy. Assemble two halves, tuck the resulting sandwich in your bag, rush to the student center to finish that paper, and just when all seems lost, pull out that airquote-cheesecake. I bet you, like, five bucks that all totally will not be lost.

5. “Baklava”: Who has two thumbs and worked on fake, portable desserts instead of their take-home exam? THIS GUY. This dish is most easily made in a portable coffee mug, either a disposable or eco-friendly one. Start with plain or vanilla yogurt, and then layer honey and granola (the more nuts the better) on top. The reason for this geological layering is that if you keep the honey and yogurt on the bottom, by the time you stir them all together in the library later, not only will it taste kind of like baklava, the granola won’t be soggy.

Chloe is a recent graduate of Williams College, and it is the type of attention to textural detail shown in this article that got her that bachelor’s degree in the first place. Read more


Originally posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

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