nightsnack: crackers with ricotta, walnuts, and honey

Okay, this isn’t strictly a recipe, but I’ve been writing this blog since January and haven’t ONCE done a post on nightsnack, which is essentially the cornerstone of my diet. Never heard the term? That’s because there are no words for the meals I eat, with American English so sorely lacking when it comes to repasts outside of the typical breakfast/lunch/dinner troika. Also, it seems that, of late, Americans use the term “snack” the same way they use the word “larceny,” as in: something you do NOT want to be caught doing.

So, what’s a girl to do? In the past, I have attempted to create portmanteaus suitable for these idiosyncratic meals (see: lunchfast), and I think it’s time to finish the job. And no, this is not some kind of advertising campaign on par with Taco Bell’s adoption of fourthmeal — which is something I only indulged in when I was 23 and couldn’t hold my liquor — or anything along those lines. This is totally different, because I’m not adhering to any existing canon but, rather, creating an entirely new eating schedule and language that is totally me-centric, and then putting it on the internet for the world to see. So not only am I narcissistic, but also a complete megalomaniac. And I would like to thank WordPress for making that possible.

Meals: a secret menu Lexicon

Shatterfast – The meal you eat upon first waking up, shatterfast is designed to end your fast quickly rather than thoroughly, and also to be transported back to bed while you catch up on your RSS feed. It’s like a .22 caliber: small, portable, and highly effective. Think a bowl of yogurt with a sliced banana.

Lunchfast – This is the meal you eat when you realize that shatterfast didn’t quite cut it, but you’ve been busily reading blogs for hours and, gosh darn it, you need a break from all that hard work. Thing is, lunch isn’t for another hour or two. Solution? A meal slightly larger and more committed to the cause than shatterfast. Sandwiches, pastries, and large hunks of cheese tend to work well.

Foodnap – This is the meal that is designed to replace the nap that you enjoyed when you were little. Mornings are strenuous and full of new things, and small children often need to regroup by going unconscious for a while in the middle of the day. Many Europeans have continued this tradition, permitting themselves to hit the ‘pause’ button rather than continuing, robot-like, to gather pollen for the hive until nightfall. Americans, programmed not to stop working until their bodies literally break into a million pieces, do not afford themselves this resting time. Instead, many of us power through with the assistance of carbohydrates, fat, and caffeine.

Afternoon Spark – Like lunchfast, afternoon spark is designed to get you through that interim period before your next sanctioned meal. Unlike lunchfast, however, it has the added pressure of raising your blood sugar and energy levels after you gorged yourself during foodnap. As a result, afternoon spark requires both a beverage and food component, often composed of tea or coffee and something that you would not normally eat if all systems were go. Candy bars, more pastries, or even odds and ends like raw bell peppers dipped in mustard will satisfy this meal requirement. Added bonus: you will feel weird/guilty afterward.

Pre-supper – This is what you eat when you get home from work/school/wherever you ate your afternoon spark. You get into the house, grab something from the cupboard (nuts, chocolate, an elaborate cocktail), and start making dinner…

Suppertizer – …except you still feel kinda weird/guilty about what you ate for afternoon spark, so you think to yourself, okay, I’m just going to eat something small and then drink tea for the rest of the evening. Salads, leftover bits of sausage, and cans of tuna are among the usual suppertizer suspects.

Realmeal – This is when your partner in crime gets home and, being a sane human being, sets the table and engages you in conversation about what you might want to make for dinner. Not wanting to give away your neurosis, you nod and smile and say, Yes, dinner! That sounds great! So you cook something scrumptious and generously portioned, possibly make a video about it, and then sit down at the table like a civilized person to enjoy what will probably be the only genuine meal you’ve eaten all day.

Sugarsnap – You eat this to tell yourself that the beautiful dream that is realmeal must, like all good things, come to an end. A few squares of chocolate or a spoonful of ice cream will do.

Nightsnack – It’s getting towards midnight and, since hours have passed since sugarsnap, you need another pick-me-up. Your partner in crime, also busy at his computer, feels the same. This is when you deftly break out a few crackers, slather on a bit of ricotta, top with a walnut half, and drizzle with honey. And finally, you sprinkle a bit of gray salt over the top to give it a little pizazz and also inspire yourself to take a glass of water to bed. Because, really, if you didn’t, how else would you wake up in the middle of the night and sprint to the bathroom? It’s little bits of exercise like that which really burn calories — and help you build up an appetite for shatterfast.


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