Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's Your Favorite Late Night Food Pleasure?

I can be a bit of a late night eater. Not the wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind of variety, I usually snack when I'm up late watching a game or a movie I've already seen a hundred times. I try not to do it too often because you know how that gets, but sometimes I just need that little 'something' that puts me over the top for the evening. Below I've compiled a list of things I like to snack on, starting with my favorite, and including most things I tend to chew on at night. Generally I've ruled out all leftovers since to me that's just an extension of dinner and doesn't count in this type of list. These are items that are sitting in the fridge, or cupboard, just waiting for your attention...well my attention to be exact.


1. Ice Cream
What person doesn't love to sit in front of the TV and devour an entire pint of Ice Cream? Well maybe not those unfortunate souls who are lactose intolerant, but they could just substitute Sorbet, so then they're ok. I don't remember how far back this habit goes for me, possible back to college when I'd buy Coffee Ice Cream thinking it would help me with all-nighters. It didn't. I can remember going to the corner Bodega to pick up either Butter Pecan, or Chocolate Chip, or Mint Chocolate get the picture, then heading back to my apartment to enjoy. Let me just say that I had a methodology to eating a pint of Ice Cream. For one I never started out thinking I was going to eat the whole thing assuming I'd leave some for the next night, how naive. I'd start out slow (especially if it was super frozen,) working my way around the edges of the carton, evenly consuming as I went down. That way I could tell when I'd hit the middle so I could continue plowing through. Ad in nuts, marshmallows, or cookie dough, and forget it, I'd spend the entire time searching out the little treats. Haagen Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream was my absolute favorite with the delicious frozen chunks of real Strawberries. There was no possible way for me not to eat the whole damn thing, it just wasn't fair.

2. Pizza
Whether cold or fresh out of the box, Pizza is a treat that I can have any time of the day, and it's completely disturbing. Generally, Pizza is best right after it's cooked, but when you are desperate for some greasy goodness in the wee hours, you'll do just about anything to eat some. This is my one exception for leftovers when it comes to late night snacking. If you had Pizza for dinner, and a couple of those Pepperoni slices are congealing nicely inside the box, they can still be considered a late night snack, or food pleasure. Cold, leftover Pizza is the perfect match for that Beer you just cracked open because the Mets are going into extras. The other option would be to order a completely fresh pie from the Pizza Parlor around the corner, assuming they are still open, and have it delivered in time for the second half of Monday Night Football. Thats the key right there. Pizza always feels very sporty to me, perfect for the games that go late into the night, because you know, you're jumping around, and getting excited. This is why it's ok to be eating a food that late at night that is generally considered to clog your arteries. Important fact: exercising late at night while eating Pizza, drinking Beer, and watching sports can be tremendously beneficial.

3. Cookies and Milk
What are you like 6 years old or something? No, you're never too old to enjoy 12 Oreo's and a tall glass of Milk for dunking. When it comes to food age is an issue that can easily be swayed with a whiff of two tasty Chocolate circles sandwiching a delicious and smooth creamy center. I can never decide if I want to pull them apart or not. I do and then don't. I dunk and then don't. Oh the choices. We're not talking about warm and gooey Cookies here, no straight-out-of-the-oven-so-they-melt-in-your-hands-before-you-can-eat-them kind. That takes preparation, and late night snacking doesn't know the meaning of preparation. Whether it's Oreo's, Chocolate Chips, or even my personal fave, Oatmeal Raisin, Cookies and Milk are the penultimate late night snack, perfect to make your tummy feel warm and fuzzy. 

4. Cake
And not just any cake. Store bought, Duncan Hines mix cake that's been in the fridge since your Mom baked it for your birthday. Of course my Mom never made any cake that was store bought, but there's nothing like the taste of a cake that came out of a box. Once it's been sitting in your fridge it's gotten more dense, and the sugary frosting has formed a skin. A tall glass of Milk is also important in this endeavor. Nothing more needs to be said.

5. Pretzels
Salty and crunchy, Pretzels are my old standard snack for any occasion. Whenever I'm at the supermarket I usually pick up a bag of mini's, and probably some rods because I know I'll eat them no matter what. What I often like to pair them up with late at night is some dip, or spreadable cheese like Rondele. Pretzels are perfect for dipping because they won't break during the dip, plus they can also hold a bigger portion. 'These Pretzels are making me thirsty!' The famous line from Seinfeld, but also very true. Most people think Beer is the best with Pretzels, but I disagree. I need something sweet and refreshing. I'm an Ice Tea Mix man myself, generally store brand. There's nothing like putting a large scoop of flavored sugar into icy cold water for refreshment.

6. Sunflower Seeds
They may be the preferred snack of baseball players everywhere, but late at night are a delicious, salty treat that make your lips feel like prunes.  Part of the fun is putting a bunch into your mouth and spitting out the shells when you are done. Of course spitting the shells on the living room carpet is frowned upon in my house, so I keep a small bowl handy for their disposal. I am always amazed at the enjoyment and satisfaction I get snacking on Sunflower Seeds because you wouldn't think that they'd be filling enough. They come in all kinds of flavors, but for me I like the original flavor from David's. Trader Joe's also sells a large bag of plain for about a $1.00...

7. Pistachios
Probably the most fun you'll have snacking late at night because of all the work involved in getting the damn nuts opened. Also an item that can turn your lips into prunes if you like them salted like me. Be warned, don't get the red ones because the dye will rub off on your hands and your lips, and you may be mistaken for a clown. Pistachios are also very good for you, which is a bonus, because this list is primarily bad stuff. Honestly I try not to take into account whether something is good or bad for me when it comes to late night snacking. Isn't late night snacking just an excuse to eat bad stuff because you think no one else will know? Well that's what I think at least. 

The Runner-ups were as follows:

Homemade Popcorn, not microwave, with salt and butter

Chocolate in any form, M&M's my #1

Pie, preferably Peach Cobbler, warmed with Vanilla Ice Cream on top

Potato Chips

Olives, usually a spicy mix from the Olive bar

Crackers, can be matched with the Olives and Cheese

Cereal, has to be of the sugared variety, Lucky Charms or Captain Crunch

I know 7 is a weird number for a favorites list. I started with a top 5, but couldn't narrow it down. I could have done a top 10, but that would have been obnoxious, besides people might think I'm a pig. Snacking late at night is fun even if it might not be that good for you, so please don't take this list too seriously. 

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