Searching for snacks in my parents’ house is an adventure. There is no shortage of healthy food. Fruits and vegetables abound in the fridge, and there is usually a pot of homemade soup or congee on the stovetop. However, my dad delights in subverting my mom’s dietary saintliness with occasional visits to McDonald’s and purchases of candy and potato chips.
My mom is equally sneaky when she finds any caches of junk food. She has befriended half of the families within their neat little condo village and will insist they accept gifts of random snack foods when she goes to visit them. Since many of her visits last 5-10 minutes and consist of her pushing food items on them and then hurriedly rushing off to her next errand, I have to assume she amassed this network of friends solely to crop dust my dad’s junk food all over town.
As a countermeasure, my dad maintains secret stashes in unexpected places. On the second day of my visit, I discovered a small pile of snack-sized bags of Doritos nestled behind a large unopened burlap sack of white rice in their basement. I gleefully seized a bag and munched happily until I was down to the last chip.
In the distant background, my mom caught sight of the bright red-orange bag and approached quickly. “Where did you find that?” she asked, right as my dad walked around the corner. His face morphed into a trio of very round O’s. I didn’t want to become a part of their junk food war so I regressed into an uncommunicative sullen teenager. I tossed the last Dorito into my mouth, crumpled the thin foil bag noisily, and shrugged. Surprisingly, the tactic still worked after all these years. I walked away unscathed.
Even when the snacks are sanctioned, it can be a bit of a quest. My parents have taken to using large metal canisters from a candy called Almond Roca to store a vast array of food items which are not Almond Roca. Somehow, I experienced a pang of hunger on the third day of my visit. I’m not sure where I found time in between the meals (my parents eat like Hobbits, elevenses and all). I came upon their collection of tins in my search for something to nibble on.
The first tin I opened contained pretzel nuggets. I ate a handful and moved on. The second tin held coconut flavored egg roll pastries (not the fried egg rolls that you would get at a Chinese take-out restaurant, but a wafer thin cookie rolled into a cigar shaped that crumbles deliciously into your mouth when you bite it) and several pieces of individually wrapped fun-sized* Snickers. I ate one of each and moved on to the third tin. This one contained a bag of uncooked red beans.
At this point, I looked around for the hidden camera. Somebody had to be punking me. To this day, I have not tasted a single Almond Roca. But I hear they’re great.
*After pondering the small snack/fun sizes of the Doritos bags and Snickers, I theorized that my dad had taken to buying those versions to make them easier to hide from my mom.