Welcome to unsnackable. This free newsletter is a small tantrum about international snacks, beverages and fast food that I want but cannot have, with occasional diatribes about other snacks that I can’t get off my mind.
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I don't mark my time outside of the midwest by the absence of dairy, but it becomes apparent whenever I go home that I love to revel in the momentary abundance. Momentary is the operative term here. Like every millennial, I am required to devote significant energy to maintaining my gut health while also trying to avoid accidentally eliminating my body's ability to digest something that I forgot to add to my grocery list for a few months.
You can set a timer starting the moment I land in the midwest to my dairy consumption habits resetting to their naturally high levels. I leave behind the gastrointestinal detente of child-sized scoops from my favorite local shops and a single batch of mac & cheese every four months when I can find a coupon for Velveeta (why is it so expensive?)
It required a systematic approach. There was Korean barbecue pizza with arugula and a sesame drizzle I'd be happy to subsist on intravenously followed by mango vanilla swirl soft-serve that tasted like Taiwanese hi-chew and a missed opportunity to remember how sbagliato is ~supposed~ to be pronounced. A now-yearly pilgrimage to Culvers for a burger topped with a patty of cheese curds, so gooey that it led me down a rabbit hole researching the scientific properties of cheese curds and the operational nightmare of the chain's probable adjustment of their deep fryer temperature
But the highlight was a catering tray-sized order of cream cheese puffs prepared correctly. Just lightly sweetened cream cheese fried golden and shatteringly crisp. The flavor is comfort and memories distilled, ordered from a restaurant that was the only speed dial number on my first cell phone that didn't belong to a family member.
I brought a giant Ziploc bag of them back with me, most crumbled in transit, but every bite still transports me. I hope I can do the same for you with these new unsnackables.
I am a high-effort baker obsessed with finding ways to make my life harder in search of a moment of peace, but my absolute favorite low-effort bake at the moment is this Prasselkuchen. Puff pastry, jam, streusel, and a simple glaze are transformed into a giant open-faced pop tart with the help of a few minutes in the oven and a blessedly short ingredient list. It's so easy that I have plenty of energy to obsess about how good a Prasselkuchen made with this wintery, marzipan studded jam would be (very, very good)
There is something aspirational about these Phillips Head screwdriver-shaped snacks flavored in the style of Kyrgyz Shashlik deciding to vibe with Doritos' branding despite having no apparent ties to Frito Lay and a website that went offline in the week between when I found the snack and wrote this newsletter. I hope to someday attain the type of self-reflective bravery required to stand so steadfast in my aesthetic.
The HallsXS Red Bull candy earned a place in this newsletter at the beginning of last year with its cough drop brinkmanship, but they stared at the void and decided to go deeper. Like they saw the tower and decided to climb it.
Created in 1752, Riga Black Balsam is often called Latvia's national drink.
Even after existing for so long, supposedly only three people (the Head Liquor Master and their two apprentices) know the recipe. I wonder which of them went through a bad breakup and had the idea to combine the oldest bitter spirit in the world with brownies, ice cream, and chocolate. I want to shake their hand because herbal notes like Valerian, Ginger, and Wormwood can stand up to chocolatey sweetness and keep the treat balanced.
I’m still figuring this out, but hopefully, you enjoyed v.62 of unsnackable.
If you didn’t please don’t tell me, tell your friends to subscribe because they hopefully have better taste than you.
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I’ll try any snack at least once, so don’t be shy if there is something you want to send me to try.
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