Snacks are the foods that keep us going

In honor of National Snack Month, here’s a primer on our favorite culinary pastime. Etymologists trace the word “snack” to the Dutch “snacken,” which translates to “snatch,” as to bite or snap like a dog chowing down on a morsel or treat.


Potato chips

The first were created by chance in the kitchen of the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. When a persnickety patron sent the thick-cut fries back to the kitchen complaining of the unappetizing soggy texture and chunkiness of the fries, the American Indian chef named George Crum attempted to pare down the fries to a more-streamlined shape to please the guest.

After several returned orders of fries, the enraged Crum, out of spite, created a paper-thin crisp “chip” that was even too hard to pierce with a fork and had to be eaten out of hand. Shockingly, the customer loved these crunchy chips, which soon became all the rage at the resort and a regular menu item named “Saratoga Chips.”

Today’s potato chips come in varieties with such kitschy flavors as spare rib, chutney and mayo available at specialized potato chip boutiques. For the health-conscious, look for lightly salted, baked versions.

Pretzels

The birth of the pretzel has religious roots circa 610 A.D. somewhere along the northern Italian or southern French border where a monk was baking strips of leftover dough to make a concoction for Lent.

Folklore has it that he twisted some of the dough strips into shapes resembling a child’s arms crossed in prayer, leaving three holes representing the Holy Trinity. These baked treats were given to children who studied their Bible verses and prayers, and were hence named “pretiola,” meaning little reward.

Today, pretzels come in salty and sweet flavors in a multitude of shapes and sizes, both soft and jaw-breaking. My picks are honey whole wheat and pumpernickel. With annual sales topping $180 million, they are second only to potato chips.


Popcorn

This unusual strain of maize that pops on command was first developed by pre-Columbian Native Americans in Mexico more than 5,000 years ago. Now, more than 1 billion pounds of air-popped and microwavable popcorn are consumed every year in this country, including caramel and cheesy corns; sweet and salty kettle corn that was created during Colonial days; and funky gourmet flavors such as macadamia butter crunch, dark chocolate cherry, and cookies and cream. May I suggest ready-popped organic popcorn made with olive or safflower oil?

Trail mix

Also known as gorp, “good old raisins and peanuts” or “gobs of raw protein,” trail mix is a light, nonperishable carb and protein combo perfect for providing a spurt of energy for hiking, power walks or a midday pick-me-up.

Try blending dried cherries, cranberries, dates, apricots or candied ginger with raw almonds, walnuts or pepitas along with bittersweet chocolate chips for a heart-healthy, mood-elevating, sustained energy treat.

Other healthful snack choices include baked pita chips with organic hummus; celery, carrot and jicama sticks dipped in salsa or guacamole; almond butter-and-jelly sandwiches on whole wheat; banana walnut bread; smoothies with berries and coconut milk; fresh fruit skewers with a vanilla yogurt dip; baked veggie quesadillas; and my personal fave, my Aunt Betty’s oatmeal date cookie sandwiches, which are portable, hearty, wholesome and divine. Wash it down with a cup of green tea or a tall glass of almond milk, and I promise you’ve found your snack bliss.

Oatmeal Date Cookies

- 3 cups of rolled oats

- 2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour

- 2 teaspoons of baking powder

- 1 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed

- 1/2 cup of melted butter

- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (grapeseed is my preference)

- 1/2 cup of almond or hazelnut milk

- 4 drops of vanilla extract

- 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice

For the filling:

- 1 pound of dried dates (pits removed)

- Juice from half a lemon

- Sprinkling of ginger powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, oil, milk, vanilla and juice to form a dough. Flour a board. Take one-third of the mixture and roll into a thin layer. Cut out cookie shapes with the rim of a juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until the dough is all used. Grease a parchment-lined cookie sheet with the grapeseed oil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

For the filling, combine the dates, a cup of water, ginger and the juice in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until melted and smooth. Spread the filling on one cookie and top with another, making a sandwich.

kitchenshrink@san.rr.com, www.FreeRangeClub.com.

Related posts:

  1. The ABC’s of back-to-school lunches
  2. Everything and the Kitchen Shrink: The apple of my pie
  3. Kitchen Shrink: A breakfast in bed primer for Mother’s Day
  4. Kitchen Shrink: Feast on patriotic dishes this holiday weekend
  5. Kitchen Shrink: Foods for the spring holidays, festivals

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=6797

Posted by on Feb 18, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Rancho Santa Fe resident among seven new trustees joining UC San Diego Foundation Board
    Proactive stewards, higher education advocates and expert financial strategists, UC San Diego Foundation trustees play an important role in cultivating community partnerships and garnering resources to support UC San Diego research, teaching and public service initiatives. Trustees govern the Foundation, including managing net assets totaling $717 million, i […]
  • Rancho Fire District to recognize Fire Prevention Week with two events
    National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11, and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) will host two community events to recognize the annual awareness campaign. The first will be an Open House from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4 at RSF Fire Station 2, 16930 Four Gee Road in 4S Ranch. Guests will be able to tour the fire station and traini […]
  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]