Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Unprocessed: snacks

Can't get away from the topic, seemingly. I wrote about an unprocessed treat on Friday, and here we are two days later, snacking again.

Here's what I "snacked" on today:
Fresh-squeezed orange juice
A 6-oz glass of locally pressed apple cider
A pear
A donut from the farmers' market, freshly made on Saturday
Some dried cranberries (from Mick Klug Farm, bought through the CSA, so not commercially processed)
Popcorn, the old fashioned kind
In other words, to snack "unprocessed," just eat food. Snacking isn't about the type of food you're eating, it's about timing, convenience and quantity. If it's 3:00 in the afternoon and you're eating an apple, that's a snack. If it's noon and you're eating it with a sandwich, that's lunch. If it's 7:30 and you've put it in a pie, that's dessert (the pie also counts as a snack in the middle of the afternoon, but mother says you may only have a small piece).

The problem is we've let the industrialized food system and Madison Avenue tell us what a "snack" is, and have swallowed wholesale, if I may, the idea that "snack food" is somehow different from "food."

Unprocessed snacks can include nuts, raw fruit, dried fruit (but read the label, the grocery store ones contain a lot of preservatives, artificial colors and even sweeteners), potato chips are easy to make if a little tedious, popcorn–the old fashioned kind, you pop it in the microwave just like “microwave” popcorn. Just stick it in a paper bag and hit the “popcorn” preset, bread and butter, jam or nut butters, hot cocoa or a hard boiled egg.

Here's the homemade hot chocolate my mother used to make for us when we were little (I never had commercial hot cocoa til I got to college; didn't know what it was, despite watching Bosco ads all my life). I remember traveling with some friends, they asked me to make hot cocoa and handed me little bags filled with brown powder. I knew what it was, but had never seen it, let alone made it. I did it wrong. They were really mad, and I was really embarrassed, but in retrospect, I'm very glad I did not know that dirt-colored powder was considered an acceptable drink.

Homemade hot cocoa
from the Woman's Home Companion Cook Book

2½ oz unsweetend chocolate (2½ squares)
⅓ cup sugar
pinch of salt (just a few grains)
½ cup boiling water
4 cups milk

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, add sugar and salt; add boiling water, stirring until well-blended. Place pan back over heat and boil about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, heat just short of scalding, again, stirring constantly. Beat until frothy. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or a marshmallow.

Here's a recipe for a homemade chocolate syrup that can be used in milk, or on ice cream.


  1. I love nuts and popcorn, but always make it in a pot because my microwave has been broken for over a year. And I didn't like the microwave popcorn. So, you're saying if I had a working microwave, I could just put corn kernels, without oil, in a brown bag (with top foldeed down--how do you keep it closed without metal clippies?) and get popcorn?

  2. Just fold the top over a couple of times.