lockdown Circuit-Breaker treating you, loyal readers of The Snackdown?
Has well over a month of social distancing, enforced by DORSCON Orange gotten you down yet?
Have you been driven mad by cabin fever yet?
Have you started typing out pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” yet?
That’s amazing, because losing it and going on an axe-murdering rampage is the last thing I would want.
The Snacktivist would hate to lose his three readers.
Or you could go out and get gouged on a new Nintendo Switch to stave off boredom, which is suddenly the hottest commodity around, dethroning toilet paper as the must-have item du jour.
Anyway, with the world grinding to a virtual standstill, which means nobody has the appetite (this is a hunger-related pun) to launch new products, or at least nothing of note.
I was a bit stuck. What is one to do when there’s nothing new to talk about?
Ah, I thought to myself while taking a shower (a place where everyone knows is where the best ideas are dreamt up), what if I was to talk about pink things you can eat (I know what you’re thinking, let’s not go there).
Pink, as you know, is the DORSCON status we’re living under right now. It’s nominally DORSCON Orange, but since Red is the DORSCON status that dare not speak its name, we’re stuck with Pink.
Or you could call it DORSCON Safety Orange or DORSCON Tangerine, but let’s face it, DORSON Pink sounds a heck of a lot cuter.
But I digress. Pink, as with all colours, has multiple shades. And calling it a Circuit-Breaker, is far more catchy than calling it DORSON Pink, or DORSCON Desert Rose, DORSON Vermillion or even DORSCON Fuchsia.
And so, I proudly present to you the pink foodstuffs that The Snacktivist is personally endorsing for this period. To let you know that he stands in unity with you through this trying time, and more importantly, to provide you a brief distraction, so you don’t go all Jack Torrance on your loved ones.
The most enduring memory I have of haw flakes (one of the greats in the pantheon of retro snacks) is I found out what it was called in Cantonese long, long before I found out its name in English, or indeed its name in standard Mandarin. Which is ironic, because I don’t even use much Cantonese, if at all. Cantonese is a language my parents use to communicate with each other when they didn’t want their kids to know what’s being said.
Joke’s on them, because a lifetime of listening to them talk to each other has given me a rudimentary grasp of the language (I refuse to be drawn into a debate over whether it’s a language in its own right or a dialect; for the sake of argument I’ll just call it a language) simply through osmosis.
Anyway, what you need to know about haw flakes is that it’s the processed, compressed fruit of the mountain hawthorn. I’ve no idea what real mountain hawthorn fruit tastes like, and frankly I’ve no interest in finding out.
I suspect it’s a lot like peaches. In that the fresh variety doesn’t even come within farting distance of the canned variety.
What haw flakes taste like is sugar. Sugar laced with the finest crack, because good luck stopping at one roll. I’ll wager you’ll demolish an entire package of the stuff before even realising what you’ve done, with empty wrappers strewn all over the floor, looking down at your hands and muttering “What have I done” to yourself.
And before you tell me, “But Snacktivist, haw flakes aren’t pink at all! They’re red!”, I’ll gently point out the wrapper is pink. And that’s good enough for me.
I’ve never let the truth stop me, or let a flimsy, tenuous connection get in the way of a good story before and I sure as heck am not going to stop now.
There are certain people out there who will keep banging on about things like superfoods.
What exactly makes a superfood, then?
Well, they’ll tell you it’s generally food that will confer a multitude of health benefits
and bear you plenty of children for the sake of the nation. And while this is a worthy definition, I think a superfood is something so godlike, it deserves its own food group.
One such food is bacon. It goes great on burgers, as a condiment, as a sandwich filling and you can even throw it into ice cream or a milkshake.
Another such food is Mentaiko mixed in with some mayonnaise.
Mentaiko is, of course, pollock roe. Not to be confused with modern artist Jackson Pollock, who is most certainly a human and not something of the piscine persuasion. Besides, you can’t extract roe from Jackson Pollock. Mainly because he’s long departed this mortal coil.
Mentaiko, in and of itself, is fairly unremarkable. It just tastes salty and fishy, as most fish roe is wont to being. However, chuck in some mayo and the effect is magical.
You can use it as a dip for potato chips, as a sauce for pasta/noodles, as a topping for rice and yes, you can even slather it onto some crusty bread as a quick treat.
It’s creamy, savoury and has a deeply complex umami that’s vaguely reminiscent of springtime in Japan.
You know, of the spring break you were supposed to take in Tokyo just before this whole virus debacle began.
When I say “you”, I actually mean “me”. The holiday I was supposed to go on.
And mentaiko mayo is also pink. As pink as the Japanese cherry blossoms I was supposed to go see and as pink as the elephant that I just saw riding past on a bicycle in my cabin fever-addled state.
No matter who you ask, happiness is quite difficult to define. Depending on who you ask, it can manifest in incredibly varied ways. For some, it’s warm sunshine, for others being around the people they love, and in a certain perverse way, some even find happiness in misery.
Don’t ask me how that last one works, I don’t provide the new-agey psychoanalysis, I just write about junk food.
Anyway, if you were to ask me what happiness is, I’d probably tell you I’d find it at the bottom of a glass.
A glass of soda gembira… which appropriately translates as “happy soda”. It’s sunshine in a glass is what it is, this mixture of soda water, rose syrup and milk.
The sweetness of the syrup is tempered by the creaminess of the milk, while the soda water dances a happy little jig on your tongue.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to be responsible for you jumping in the air and clicking your heels together after taking a swig of soda gembira.
Nor am I taking responsibility for the terminal case of Joker-like happiness you’ll be experiencing if you overdose on soda gembira to get you through these troubled times.
10-word review: These snacks are pink and will keep you feeling positive.
Best paired with: Some red and orange snacks, y'know for symmetry's sake.