Tag Archives: Snacks

Snacks, pants, fruit roll-ups

I need to get a snack. I’m starving here. Breakfast didn’t cut it this morning. And I ate it at eleven, so I can’t justifiably go out for lunch already. Maybe I’ll have lunch at like three, three-thirty. Dinner? Close to eleven. I’ve got to start getting breakfast ready a little earlier. Lately I’ve been getting into this bad habit of going to the deli and buying those giant black-and-white cookies as a snack. Sometimes like twice a day. That amount of sugar can’t be good, for anybody, I don’t care how much running around I do to try and justify that much snacking. Also, it can add up to be an expensive habit. Cookies. Sugar. Eggs. Black and white frosting. Three fifty please. Here you go sir. See you in five minutes.

I need to iron my pants. Whenever I’m done with work I always just put them in my backpack and change into my jeans. Fine, but then I leave them in there, all night, overnight, and then I’m running late for work the next day, I just grab my backpack, I haven’t even touched it since I threw it on the ground when I walked in. That’s OK. I mean, it’s not great, not ideal, but it’s all right. I have this patented method of putting my clothes in my backpack. Instead of folding my clothes, I stretch them out slightly and then roll them up. That way I just unroll them the next day, in case I forget to unpack everything when I get home, which I always do, another bad habit, just like the bad eleven o’clock breakfast habit. By the way, it’s not really patented, the roll up method, or maybe it is, I don’t know, but it’s not patented by me. I just always say it’s patented, like I invented it, because at least one person is going to be like, “You didn’t invent that!” and then I’m like, in my head, bingo. And I get into a whole fake argument with this person about how, yes, I did invent it, how they must have heard about it from me.

I need to stop making up stories, running my mouth, talking about total nonsense with random people, drawing people into fake arguments about the Rob G. patented roll-up method for folding your clothes. There’s always that moment like three quarters of the way into one of these fights, when voices start to rise in volume slightly, and the corners of my mouth start to similarly rise, like I can’t fake it anymore, like it’s now obvious that I’m just talking for the sake of talking, wasting everybody else’s time.

I need to clarify, however, that even if I haven’t necessarily invented the roll-up method, I’ve definitely made it my own, incorporated it into my life to such a degree that, if these kind of things were to be measured, I’d easily be one of the top ten, top five even, on a list of people that most exemplify, or most take advantage of this roll up folding. I’m not kidding. Like I can pack for a whole week’s vacation in a tiny duffel bag. The trick is to roll up everything, underwear, socks – individual socks rolled up individually – all of those small things that you’d normally not even bother to fold up at all, “They’re so small. Why fold them up? They barely take up any space at all.” Because all of that little space adds up. The only thing is, if you’re flying, I’ve often time run into the problem of, because I’ve packed so efficiently, utilized basically every available square inch of space, my luggage winds up weighing in much heavier than most other travelers’. And so, one, TSA might get suspicious, “What do you have in there?” and they’ll insist on going through everything, unrolling everything, “Why is everything rolled up like this?” and then, I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist, I’ll say something like, “Oh that? It’s the Rob G. patented innovative roll-up method for packing,” and maybe a group of TSA agents will have formed, most of them kind of bored, wishing they didn’t have to look through everyone’s luggage, but one of them take the bait, might be like, “Are you kidding me? You didn’t invent that,” and I’ll be like, Yahtzee, in my head anyway, going through the whole non-argument, and then having to reroll everything, every sock, every shirt, all while I’m just trying to get through security, make it to my gate in time, I had such a late start, too late a breakfast, and why did I stop for a cookie on the way in, and, two, (remember I said “one” earlier? This is two) you have this densely packed duffel bag, what if it winds up weighing more than the fifty pounds the airline allows each traveler to include with the price of their ticket? It’s not unreasonable to imagine a heavy bag, an even heavier heavy bag surcharge.

I need to start packing smarter for my vacations. I’ve become so accustomed to rolling everything up, to fitting everything into such a small space, to being able take everything with me, that it’s too much, packing takes forever. I wind up with too many clothes for what’s supposed to be a relaxing getaway. Note to self: next time, less clothes. Maybe regularly folded clothes. Maybe. Probably not. Just less clothes. Or a smaller duffel bag? Note to self within note to self: look up prices on smallish duffel bags.

I still need a snack. I should really get some fruit. Something healthy, some calories. Fruit roll-ups? No, regular fruit. I need to get off this roll-up thing.

The Milano: An Ode to Pepperidge Farm

I bought a bag of Milano cookies on a whim the other day at the grocery store. This is totally unlike me. I never buy cookies. Not usually. If I’m going to buy something sweet, it’s always ice cream. But store bought cookies? I can safely say that I’ve never bought store bought cookies in my entire life. Well, I used to be able to safely say that. Now it’s not true anymore. Now I can’t even say that I’ve only bought store bought cookies once. But I’ll get to that.

I brought my groceries home, started unpacking everything, and when I saw this bag there I just kind of made this puzzled face, kind of scratched my head a little, thinking, “Milanos? What inspired me to pick up a bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos?” I didn’t even know where to put them, like, there’s no specific drawer or kitchen cabinet where I felt they naturally belonged. So I just kind of pushed them to the side.

As the days passed, every now and then I’d look over at the bag and just kind of laugh to myself, ha, talk about random, Milanos. And I never got the urge to eat any. Not once did I look longingly at the bag and think, man, I’d love to just go to town on that sack of Milanos.

But then I had three days off from work. I’m a restaurant worker, and so my days off don’t always coincide with the rest of the world’s days off. Add to those days off a severe three day long cold snap and I found myself with all the right excuses to spend seventy-two hours completely holed up inside. I didn’t want anything to do with the outside world.

I had enough groceries for a while. I ate all of the eggs in the fridge, most of the canned goods. But by day three supplies were dwindling. I felt bad calling out for delivery; the only reason I hadn’t gone out was because it was so cold, like single-digits cold, so cold that I couldn’t bear to be outside myself for more than two minutes. How could I possibly call up a restaurant and force them to send somebody out on a bike to bring food to my house? It’s always awkward, when it’s pouring rain, when it’s freezing cold, and you get a knock on the door and it’s some delivery guy, shivering, soaking wet, “Thanks a lot boss! Here’s three dollars!”

There were like three containers of leftovers in the fridge that, when combined, almost made up a whole plate of food. I microwaved the whole dish hoping that it would be enough to satisfy my hunger. It wasn’t. I started getting desperate, looking through the cupboards, nothing. At last I turned my head to that far spot on the counter. The Milanos.

“Maybe I’m not hungry,” I tried convincing myself, “maybe I only need a little dessert, something to wrap up the meal, take my mind off the hunger.” I opened the bag cautiously. Why cautiously? Because I know myself with sweets. If I really like sweets, it won’t even be a slippery slope, it’ll be a precipitous drop, zero to sixty. That bag wouldn’t stand a chance. I reached in for a cookie.

I hadn’t had a Milano in so long, I had all but forgotten what it felt like to sink my front teeth into those perfectly crisp golden wafers. How do they get the cookies to have just the perfect amount of crunch? I looked on the bag for what I assumed had to be an ingredient list jammed with preservatives and chemicals. But nothing. “Baked with no artificial flavors or preservatives,” it read right on the packaging. And then I started reading the rest of the bag. Each side had a different story. One of them started out, “Ahh … yes. The Milano.”

And I just pictured myself sitting on a plush velvet couch, draped in nothing but silk robes, the very definition of pleasure and comfort. And I’m covered in cookie crumbs, those little paper dividers keeping one level of Milanos separate from the other, they’re everywhere. And I’m getting anxious, I’m worried that I’ve done it, that I’ve exhausted my supply of Milano cookies. But I’m so fat from spending God knows how long sitting on that ridiculously comfortable couch … did I say velvet? It’s actually a suede couch. Even more comfortable. And I’m rolling around from side to side, throwing wrappers in the air when, finally, thank God, a full box, unopened, and I hold it up in front of me and whisper, “Ahh … yes. The Milano!”

And by the time I was done with my Milano induced daydream, I realized that I had eaten the entire box. I couldn’t believe it. The ultimate Pepperidge Farm binge. And I had only gotten through one side of the box. I needed more. More Milano.

I got up and sprinted toward the grocery store. To hell with the cold. I didn’t care if I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet, if I was still wearing pajama bottoms. I headed right to the cookie aisle and grabbed as many Milanos as I could fit into the basket. “Excuse me,” I grabbed some clerk’s attention, “Do you guys sell Milanos in bulk?” They didn’t. No time to get to Costco.

From the other side of the box, “Entertain inspirations. Embrace decadent cravings. Reward yourself. Open … Taste … Delight.” Yes, yes, yes! I felt like everything I’ve been looking for in life, the questioning, the search for answers, for meaning … it had all been right here, this Milano bag. These cookies have changed my life. I don’t need anything else. I don’t want anything else. Or anybody. I don’t care what I look like or what anybody thinks of me. As long as I have my Milanos. I’ll never run out of ideas for things to write about ever again. It’s going to be all about Milanos, every day. Thank you Pepperidge Farm.

Ode to the McRib

I live right by a McDonald’s. The other day I noticed a new sign, it said that “The McRib is back!” So I walked right inside and ordered one. I love the McRib. I love everything about it, the delicious pork taste, no bones, barbeque sauce, pickles, onions. “Sorry sir, but the McRib just came back today, so, yeah, we can sell you one, but we don’t have the bread.” “That’s fine,” I said, trying not to betray my disappointment, “I’ll still take it.”

Why not just wait a day? If you don’t have the McRib bread, why even advertise, “McRib!” Why put it back on the menu? How about a sign that says, “McRib … coming soon!” I love McDonald’s, but I wouldn’t have gone in right that second had I known they were only selling something like a McRib, something that kind of looked and tasted like the McRib, but didn’t give me the whole McRib experience.

Part of what makes the McRib so unique is its unconventional shape. It’s like an oval. The bread is almost this mini baguette. It follows that it must be sold in a fitted rectangle box. The cashier handed me my bag, I brought it home, opened it up, and it was a regular square box. I didn’t know what to expect.

It wasn’t the same at all. They didn’t even put it on a regular bun, like a Big Mac bun or a Quarter Pounder bun. They put it on one of those specialty buns, something used for those fancy sandwiches that nobody ever orders anyway. It tasted good. But I was so annoyed. Every once in a while you’re at a barbeque in the summer, and there’s always tons of hamburgers and hot dogs, and it always happens, but towards the end of the party, there are always like five hotdogs left but all of the hotdog buns have been used up. But you’re so hungry, it doesn’t matter, you say to yourself, I’ll just use a hamburger bun. And then when you eat it and it doesn’t satisfy at all your craving for a hotdog you stand there, swallowing the last few bites, staring at that empty paper plate, thinking to yourself, huh, that doesn’t make any sense. It’s bread and a hotdog. Why does the shape at all alter the eating experience?

I don’t know. I don’t have any good answers. But it does. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that some bites are going to be too heavily stacked with meat whereas other bites are going to be way too much bun. And with the McRib, this is simply unacceptable. I want every bite to have exactly the same proportions of pork, pickle, onion, sauce, and bread. Haphazardly throwing it on same knockoff artisanal loaf didn’t even come close to making it work. And let’s not forget about the rectangle box. It has to be a rectangle box. I could just tell that my McRib patty was forced in the square box, like it didn’t fit at all. The whole thing was a mess.

I went back the next day and had myself a McRib proper. What a relief. I was worried that my not so stellar McRib experience might have ruined the McRib for me altogether. But it didn’t. And that’s good, because the McRib is only a temporary item. Like I don’t know if there’s any pattern to when they bring it back, but when it comes back it’s like having one of those dreams where there’s a totally new room in your house that was always there but for some reason you never went inside, and now that you’re aware of its existence, you’re making all of these plans, like maybe it can be a game room, or a work area. You’re dream brain is filled with possibilities. But then you wake up and, bam, it was a dream. No dream room.

It’s the same with the McRib. I don’t know how long they’ll keep it back on the menu, but it’s never long enough. I promise myself every time the McRib comes back that this time I’m really going to make the most out of its availability. But I’ll always only ever buy it four or five times, tops, and then just when it’s there, just when it’s earned a place on the forefront of my consciousness, so when every time I get hungry, I automatically start thinking, McRib, I’ll walk into McDonald’s and it’s like, “Sorry, no more McRib.” “What? None? You don’t have any more McRibs? Come on. You have to have something. Nothing? I don’t care about the bread, please. Please!” McDonald’s, why do you have to do this to me? Why can’t you just keep it on the menu full time?

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a little project similar to that movie Super Size Me, but instead of eating only McDonald’s every day for a month, I’m going to limit myself to just McRibs, every meal, every day for a month. I don’t think it would be bad. I’m pretty convinced that the only reason that filmmaker suffered so many negative side effects was because he was wasting too much time on weird menu items, like salads, apple pies and ice cream cones. But just the McRib? That’s got everything. Meat, bread, vegetables. I could do it. And I’d love it. I’m going to go to McDonald’s right now just to make sure it’s still on the menu. I’m not going to order one though, because I’m so stupid, I got hungry earlier and I went to Subway. I totally forgot about the McRib. And how could I? I’m telling you, that’s how it is. It’s a dream sandwich, elusive, by the time you wrap your mind around it being there, poof, it’s gone.

I’m always down for a snack

The other day I was running an errand in a different part of the city and I passed by this tiny little deli, a really nondescript store, one of those countless little sandwich, soda, cigarette places littered across the city. I’d usually say it’s a bodega, but this definitely wasn’t a bodega, because, and I had to do a double take here, there was a picture of a falafel sandwich on the door. I’ve been really into falafel lately, and I find that all of the sudden it’s everywhere. Or maybe it’s not all of the sudden, maybe it’s just one of those things where as soon as I’m aware of something, I see it everywhere. Anyway, I’m always down for a snack, so I go inside.

I could tell the guy behind the counter was the owner just by the way he said hello. Like he really meant it, hello, welcome to my store, please spend money here. Hourly workers don’t really give a shit if you’re there or not. And most of the time at stores like this you’re only in to buy a drink or a scratch-off. If I were behind the counter I’d be so zoned out into space I wouldn’t have any reaction even if a gang of armed robbers stormed in. I’d just open the register and step aside.

So with the pleasantries out of the way, I asked for a falafel. The guy’s face lit up. “Falafel, eh?” I looked up at the board. Like any deli in the city, there were like a hundred things listed on the menu. Literally every single dish or sandwich that ever existed was written somewhere up there. And this place was maybe five by ten feet. Like really tiny.

He started scooping the falafel into balls while the oil heated up. He started questioning me, slowly.

“So, you like falafel?”

“Yeah, I really do.”

“Where do you live? Where do you buy your falafel?”

“I live in Queens. There’s a truck on Broadway that I go to.”

“How much do you pay for your falafel?”

“Three dollars for a pita sandwich, six for a platter with rice.”

And then things took a turn.

“Falafel and rice? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“Really? Huh.”

“You eat your falafel with rice? I’ve never in my life eaten falafel with rice. Not even once.”

“Huh. Yeah they sell it with basmati rice and salad and …”

“Salad. Yes. But rice? I cannot even conceive of falafel and rice. It makes absolutely no sense to me.”

At this point I was getting a little uncomfortable. My falafel cart in Queens always has a line down the block. They have a trophy that they display, the Vendy, and they’ve won it every year for the past five years. I’m not sure how competitive this Vendy qualification process is, but whatever, I’m not an authority, and the trophy looks legit.

But this guy’s now staring at me, right in the eye, and he’s moving closer. Falafel and rice, never, really? Am I ordering this wrong? Have I been ordering this the wrong way all of this time? Do the guys at the falafel truck think the same thing about me when I order falafel and rice from them? This guy keeps asking the same question, over and over again, about falafel and rice, and I’m getting anxious, so I expertly change topics.

“You know, one time I tried to make falafel, but I didn’t use a food processor. I just tried to chop it up really finely and …”

“No. Always use food processor. I grind my falafel three times. No less than three times.”

OK, he took the bait. He was off of the falafel and rice business. He started talking about oil temperatures and how to test it by cooking a piece of onion first. He offered to sell me his raw falafel mix, and then I could make it at home, but I was really more concerned about this falafel sandwich, the one that I ordered, the one that was taking so long for him to even get in his deep fryer.

Meanwhile, whereas I was the only customer at first, now there were like five other people behind me, all with just bottles of water or soda, looking to get in and out, quick. One guy started complaining, could he just leave the dollar and go?

“No. I am making a falafel sandwich for this person.”

The guy on line looked at me and I just kind of smiled and shrugged. Sorry brah. Finally the owner finished my sandwich. Before he handed it over he kind of hesitated, looked me one more time in the eye and said, “Falafel and rice,” and then his eyes got real squinty, a real sinister kind of look flashed across his face, and he said, “I bet you anything this falafel truck is owned by an Egyptian.”

And I’m just like, what the hell? I have no idea who’s from what country. Basically every single nation that’s even close to the Mediterranean Sea claims falafel as their own dish. But again, I’m an expert at getting out of weird situations like this, so I match his suspicious glance and I say, “You know what? He’s definitely an Egyptian.” The owner nodded in approval. I had no idea who I was offending or insulting or even where this guy was from. I just wanted out.

He handed me my sandwich, charged me six bucks, definitely more than my Egyptian falafel back home, and he tells me, “Eat my falafel. If you like it, you’ll come back and eat more.” Not a thank you come again, this was more like a prophecy.

I left thinking, yeah right, no way pal. But I ripped open the foil and took a few bites. It was amazing. Delicious. Maybe I’d have to come back after all.

Wasting time

I get so bored sometimes. Especially on days like today, when I don’t have to be at work until four or four thirty in the afternoon. The night before I’m always like, I’m going to have such a productive day tomorrow. Carpe diem or something like that. And I always set my alarm for eight. That seems like a pretty adult hour to get up. I mean, I know it’s not. I know real adults have to get up at like six or six thirty. Jesus. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend teaches at a school in Jersey and he has to get up at like four-thirty. Yikes.

So yeah, eight seems like a pretty reasonable time, if not the most adult time, well, you know, it’s not eleven. That’s definitely not an adult waking up time. When I was in high school I used to be able to sleep until one, two, three in the afternoon. That was the best, just that sense of being in bed, but so overcome by exhaustion that you literally had no choice but to sink deeper into your pillow, stretching out further to touch every corner of the bed. But yeah, I can’t do that now. I’d waste the whole day.

But still, eight o’clock in the morning, it’s more like an aspiration to me than an actual time of the day. I set my alarm to eight. But it’s often the case that I’ll just kind of ignore it. Or I’ll get up and act like I’m up and I’ll turn off the alarm and I’ll prepare to really get up, get up, but sometimes, not always, but sometimes a really weak part of my brain will take over my body and I’ll just be asleep again. So what I do is I set multiple alarms, one for eight, one for eight-thirty, all the way to ten.

But much as I try to outsmart my brain, I’m just too smart, and so I can’t do it. My mind  always knows that no matter what the eight o’clock alarm sounds like, it’s really just a hollow ringing. All I have to do is get up briefly to turn it off, because there are going to be more alarms going off at half hour intervals. And by the time I finally get up and go to the bathroom and take a shower and take the dog for a walk and make coffee and make breakfast and sit down to eat breakfast, it’s already much later in the day. What happened to being productive?

So I start to freak out. I’m like, OK, getting work done starts right now. Right this second. Right after I go online and check my email and check Facebook and check the newspaper and check reddit and then check my email again to see if anybody emailed me in the twenty minutes that have passed since I checked it the first time. And then I have to get up and stretch my legs, because I can’t sit still for too long.

And I know that I really should have started writing right away, as soon as I got up. I should just get it done and then I’d have all this free time to fuck around on the computer guilt free. I should just reverse it. Writing first, online second. But I can’t. It’s impossible. Not totally impossible, but definitely improbable. And then I’m hungry for lunch. And then I’m bored. And bored is the worst, because it’s a vicious cycle. I’m sitting around bored, and it just makes me want to sit around even more, even more bored.

And then maybe I’ll have a day off. I can sleep in until ten, guilt free. I can take as much time as I want getting my day started. But everything just gets pushed back. And I can see time skipping in front of me like a strobe light, like in twenty-minute chunks. I’ll be like, what the hell, it took me twenty minutes to read one article online? No, it took three minutes, but my brain just keeps clicking to more and more online nonsense.

What I really need is no job at all. Then I could spend six to eight hours every day just totally goofing off. I’d have to get more work done that way. Right? There’s no way I would just loaf around all day looking at videos and browsing lame jokes and pacing around my living room, totally bored. Right? It’s not possible that I would just sit around eating snacks in my underwear all day long. Right?