Snack food is a staple of dorm life, whether it keeps you semi-conscious at 3 A.M. as you finish a paper due in five hours or attracts visitors to your room by nature of being free. And while everyone loves Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, the chips’ innate ubiquity leads to bored ingestion, mindless calories, and unconsciousness at 3:13 having only completed the first body paragraph. Variations of the classics, or snacks that are absolutely bonkers, can add a new level of culture to your room that transforms snacking into an exciting experience.
Tostitos (Hint of Pepper Jack, Jalapeño or Lime) – The Tostitos brand of tortilla chips is a tasty, traditional snack food. The chip itself is stout and releases a satisfying crackle compared to its often greasy potato counterparts. Furthermore, the bags are big, and the flavors are different from the standard goodies of sour cream & onion, ranch and vinegar. Flavors like Hint of Pepper Jack, Hint of Jalapeño and Hint of Lime deliver a surprisingly authentic taste (for flavored chips) that eliminates the need for salsa or other perishable sides. The flavoring does leave a slightly sticky residue on your hands, but as you and your friends pig out in front of the television while watching NU win its away football games, decorum disappears and licking your fingers clean is perfectly okay.
Blue Diamond Almonds (Wasabi & Soy Sauce, Lime ‘n Chili, Honey Dijon and Habanero BBQ) – First off, almonds are healthy, and according to the FDA, “may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The Blue Diamond brand of almonds, available at CVS, has some fascinating flavors. I have found Honey Dijon and Habanero BBQ to be universal crowd pleasers. Honey Dijon has a hint of sweetness with a complex richness due to the mustard while Habanero BBQ has a deep and smoky flavor. Lime ‘n Chili and Wasabi & Soy Sauce tend to be more polarizing. I find Lime ‘n Chili to be the bluntest of the four flavors, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just has a very strong “tropical” taste some people deem fake. Wasabi & Soy Sauce is genuinely spicy, so if you take the plunge, keep a water bottle within reach. Blue Diamond also has many other flavors, and while the brand can be a little expensive (around $4 at CVS for 6 oz.), they can be obtained buy-one-get-one-free. I warn you, these nuts are incredibly addictive, and once the can is opened, it is rarely closed except to toss to the next friend.
Triscuit – I have a deep love for any type of Triscuit cracker. To me, Triscuit crackers have that glorified, old timey natural taste, which makes sense since they were first made in 1900. I love the feeling and sound of the webbed strands snapping as you bite through the cracker, and the wide varieties of flavors are delicious but subtle. They taste great plain, and they also work well with a little ribbon of prosciutto or a dollop of herbed cream cheese, depending on how much effort you want to put in. My personal favorite is the Fire Roasted Tomato and Olive Oil, but I would never say no to any flavor of Triscuit.
Chicken in a Biskit – After a classy (in the realm of snack food) cracker like Triscuit, it’s time to switch things up with Chicken in a Biskit. Yes, it actually tastes like chicken and has a vaguely feathered edge. No, I don’t want to know why. But eat it with friends, and the laughter it will provoke can be endless. It’s a unique snack, flavored with dehydrated cooked chicken nonetheless, but try it for the experience.