Since quarantine began, most of my days run together. I shower twice a day because it is easier than trying to figure out if I forgot. I turned off screen-time notifications and feel haughty about leaving my phone outside of my room and read books on a hand-me-down iPad with a shattered screen and nothing but library apps on it. I have no routine, and my brain begs for a sense of occasion.
A part of me also misses menial tasks like loitering and walking out of the house with no plan. I guess it has made me little nostalgic for all the rituals of loitering, including the snacks.
I have so many great snack memories tied to loitering when I was young. Summer afternoon bike rides to the gas station when sticky fingers provided what couch cushion change and a non-existent allowance couldn't. Raiding the vending machine between rounds of truth or dare while waiting for the late bus. And weekends at the mall.
My parents didn't cosign my time at the mall. They would drop me at the library, then I would risk my life by crossing a small highway to get to the mall and see my friends. I loved the library, but the bathroom at the library didn't have these machines.
When we weren't buying stacked bangles from Claire's or trying on surf tees from PacSun (a natural choice for teens from suburban Minnesota), we wandered with a contentedness that I wish I could grasp as an adult. I was reaching for that feeling earlier this week when I made one of my go-to riffs on J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for General Tso's Chicken (using turkey thighs instead of chicken). I paired that with charred broccoli, fluffy white rice, and a boozy Orange Julius made with white rum and orange liqueur.
Enough about the mall, let's get to this week's unsnackables.
PLOMBIR ENERGIE (UKRAINE)
It is an absolute fluke that I've made it to adulthood with a decently healthy relationship with caffeine. Especially since I ride for energy drinks and most of the time coffee is just an ingredient for baking or dalgona (remember that early quar trend?) In terms of energy drinks, there has been no greater sacrifice than when I stopped drinking 5 Hour Energy so my heart wouldn't explode or whatever. I miss it every day, but I think these Ukrainian energy ice cream cones with guarana extract, caffeine, and taurine could fill that void.
DUU DURIAN FRUIT STICK WITH STUFFING (Thailand)
It is exciting to think about a life with constant access to durian instead of just media accounts that frame it with scorn. Or a frame of reference that prioritizes the creamy texture and flavor of the fruit over the smell. Kill the cop in your head that says that durian is an exotic burden instead of a treat and replace it with the image of this frozen durian filled with coconut and pandan. Okay, now accept that you'll never be able to try it despite how delicious it sounds.
SHAKE SHACK AUTUMN MAITAKE BURGER (Japan)
In making this newsletter, I have inadvertently tasked myself with creating a grand taxonomy of snacks. It constantly leaves me and my unsnackable spreadsheets in a state of pepesilvia_alwayssunny.jpg at 2 AM. This burger from Shake Shack Japan earned a spot not because I'm sure that it is a snack but because it is an unsnackable and I said "fuuuuuuuck" when I read the full ingredient list and realized that I couldn't have it. It has Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms and a special sauce made with red miso, cheese, perilla, sesame, and seaweed toppings. There is also a mandarin shiso lemonade that sounds like such a nice complement to the flavors of the burger that it makes me want to fight.
VIMTO WINGER WARMER (U.K.)
It is table stakes to acknowledge that the United States is a failed empire, but I don't understand how cordials and squash have never become widely available here. I've been mixing and creating simple syrups to mix with sparkling water since my childhood. I would not have been able to convince my parents to buy cordials, but it would have been comforting to know that they were there. One of the most popular varieties in the UK is Vimto (it is also a very delicious soda). Their new launch, a spiced cordial meant to be consumed warm, seems to be a bit controversial.
WHITE RABBIT MILK (China)
In my eyes, Christopher Nolan's Tenet is merely a byproduct of these perfect photos of John David Washington laughing at Rob Pattinson trying to flex his muscles and not a movie I'll risk my life to see. I haven't even read a plot summary. All I know is that this White Rabbit Milk has what Christopher Nolan wishes he had. White Rabbit is milk flavored candy, this is milk-candy flavored milk, but somehow it isn't milk flavored milk. Somewhere in the production process, they are challenging our fragile grasp on reality. I think consuming over seven sips of milk in a single sitting as an adult is vulgar and I'm still intrigued!
FORTY CREEK NANAIMO BAR CREAM (Canada)
The flavored vodka category has taken a lot of the novelty out of flavored liquor launches because they exist in the state of making you regret your decision even before you consume them. This Nanaimo bar flavored cream liqueur just sounds delicious.
I’m still figuring this out, but hopefully, you enjoyed v.4 of unsnackable.
If you didn’t please don’t tell me, tell your friends to subscribe because they hopefully have better taste than you.
Think you’ll miss me before unsnackable v.5 comes to your inbox? follow me on other parts of the internet and tell me about what you’re snacking on or tell me about other snacks that make you question the nature of reality.
I’ll try any snack at least once, so don’t be shy if there is something you want to send me to try.