You can argue about breakfast, lunch, or dinner as the superior meal all you want. But when you’re a self-proclaimed Snack Guy like myself, none of that frivolous conversation matters.
My devotion to packaged munchies started in the school cafeteria, trading for snacks that weren’t permitted at home. Shopping with my mom at the supermarket for the first time left me slack-jawed: a world of endless variety at my fingertips.
I grew into frozen delights and candies later on, even “healthy” snacks like fruit leathers and melba toasts. Driving led to frequent Wawa pitstops, and soon I was the kid at high school parties who stored a box of Lemonheads and a bag of Herr’s cheese curls in the pockets of my hoodie.
The road to glorious snackdom continued. In Spain I discovered that there was an entire foreign world of snacking that we couldn’t even access here in the States; college in Atlanta led me to explore international supermarkets, where it became sport to sample obscure treats.
Today, I still tirelessly search for new snacks on the regular—packaged pastries, gummy candies, chips, frozen delights, healthy GMO-free munchies are all in the weekly rotation. The bodegas, boutique markets, chain stores, pharmacies, gas station convenience stores of the world are my stomping grounds. I maintain a robust snack drawer in my desk, and it is from that desk that, I Dan Resnick, the Snack Guy, bring to you ‘My Bangers of the Month.’
All photos by Liz Barclay
Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix
Price: $4.99 (Whole Foods, NYC)
Why you need it: If you’re an old head like me, you remember Eagle snack mix, the party mix you’d find in a juice jug at the resort bar on family vacation (you know, that time period when your parents were getting their mid-afternoon booze on and all you were allowed to order was a virgin daiquiri). Annie’s Cheddar Snack mix is the modern version of the Eagle snack mix—cheese and butter crackers shaped like bunnies and dusted with cheese seasoning, as well as pretzels perfectly salted to balance out the rich flavoring. You’ll know a good time was had if you see cheese-y residue everywhere. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Price: $3.19 (CVS, NYC)
Why you need it: Maybe you know Trolli for their Sour Brite Crawlers or other neon-colored snacks that are much tangier than your garden variety Haribo gummies; or maybe you need someone to put you on game. Either way, the Trolli eggs are worth the investment, with four flavors that are artificially delicious (apple being a personal favorite) and sour enough, but without the sour sugar on the outside to spoil it. Trolli makes some pretty bizarre products that I can’t personally co-sign (beware of the liquid-filled gummies), but the eggs are a definite banger.
Breyer’s Cappucino Gelato
Price: $6.29 (Food Emporium, NYC)
Why you need it: Quick confession: There was a time when the parentals controlled the snack ring, and it was a lucky day when they did not impose their will. There was also a time when Breyer’s was one of the only games in town, and considered a respectable choice of ice cream for the gallon tub-eating set. Those days are long gone, and many other brands have set the standards high with their creamy delights. Fast forward to 2015 and Breyer’s is diversifying their repertoire, and being a lover of all cold treats in the coffee-flavored sphere, Breyer’s Cappuccino Gelato caught the Gawd’s gaze. Comprised of three distinct ingredients, the gelato has a coffee layer, a cream layer, and mini chocolate chips to mimic the notes of the beloved cinnamon-y hot beverage. Needless to say, Breyer’s is doing it right on this one, and any coffee ice cream lover would be remiss not to give this gelato a whirl.
Entenmann’s Little Bites Party Cakes
Price: $4 (Shop Rite, NYC)
Why you need it: Admission #2: I’ve tried all of the Entenmann’s Little Bites in the past few weeks—besides the Blueberry muffin variety (I don’t do fruity muffins)—even though I’m probably way over the age limit for purchasing; they’re consistently on sale at my local grocery establishment. They’re all passable, if not delicious, even though four bites of packaged pastry does not make a breakfast. But my personal favorite is the “Party Cake” version, dappled with rainbow sprinkles that recall the Betty Crocker party cupcakes of yore. So what if you dunk them in a caffeinated beverage now as an adult man? The Party Cake bites will still do the trick.
Yuengling Root Beer Float Ice Cream
Price: $6.99 (Food Emporium, NYC)
Why you need it: What is a summer without a root beer float at a diner, or ice cream stand for that matter? Definitely not a ‘Merican one. So what does Yuengling create for its loyal Pennsylvania fanbase? Yep, Root Beer Float Ice Cream! Yuengling’s creamery is back up and running after a long hiatus. For a real experience, try this in a frosty mug with some root beer, take your folding chair outside, and crank up the Creedence. The Snack Dude abides.
Adirondack Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Price: $6 (Whole Foods, NYC)
Why you need it: So many ice creams today try to replicate the magic that is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. But you’d be hard pressed to find an ice cream that really delivers in emulating the flavors of a Reese’s without actually including the candy. Adirondack’s Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream succeeds where others fail by using natural ingredients to mimic the signature chocolate-y-ness and quasi-starchy, crumbly peanut buttery element. The chocolate ice cream base is just sweet enough to serve as a credible foil to the peanut butter topping’s assertive richness—which sticks to back of your throat like real peanut butter should. Highly recommended for the Reese’s lover in your life, if that’s not you.
Clif Kids Mixed Berry Rope
Price: $5.39 (Whole Foods, NYC)
Why you need it: The Clif Kids Mixed Berry Rope tastes like actual fruit, is sweet, slightly tart, and has a texture that is more naturally fibrous than artificially snappy. It’s a more noble move than breaking open Twizzlers when the mid-day energy struggle sets in, and it’s way tastier than those little tupperwares of nuts and dried fruit your basic-ass coworkers are snacking on.
Saffron Road Wasabi Chickpeas
Price: $5.49 (Gourmet Garage, NYC)
Why you need it: It’s 2015, so it’s more likely than not that you’ve had wasabi peas; maybe you were even trolled by your friends who assured you they’re “not that hot.” Saffron Road’s Wasabi chickpeas bring the heat, but they’re also strangely addictive. Once the spice fades you want more, despite your rational brain telling you to chill. These wasabi chickpeas would fit well in the classic Rice Snack Mix packages you see at supermarkets, but if you’re snacking on these alone, proceed with a cooling beverage.