Before you call me subversive, let me state at the outset that I
have nothing against snack food. When it comes to the inalienable
right to gorge oneself on salty, fried, high-calorie,
chemical-laced, heart-clogging foodstuffs, I am a strict adherent
to the Constitution, which states, and I quote: "Congress shall
make no law abridging the deglutition of pretzyls, phritters, or
phried lumps of lard."
Now, it's true that when the enforcers of the Patriot Act sift
through the record of my dining habits, they will note that, while
writing this very column, I was eating, let me just own up to it
now, a salad. As if that's not bad enough, earlier today I offered
clementines - ya know, those tangerine-type things that you can
only purchase a hundred at a time in crates the size of dresser
drawers - to my 14-year-old son and two of his friends. Red-blooded
Americans all, they recoiled in horror.
But just because I sometimes nibble on a leaf of non-industrially
produced vegetable matter or have around the house a
non-manufactured citrus product doesn't mean that I don't love
snack food at least as much as the next guy. If you want me to get
jingoistic about it, I will: In my pantry at this very moment are
half-bags of pretzels, corn chips, and potato chips. Why half?
Because I've eaten the other half. Clear and conclusive evidence,
if any were needed, of my dedicated support of artificial
Should the Justice Department or anyone else choose to doubt my
conviction, they need look no further than my ample belly.
Actually, they can't look further. They can't see around it.
As I like to say, "No popcorn, no peace."
Still, even the most dedicated adherent to all that is pre-packaged
must admit that a lot has happened in the world of snacking, and
not all of it for the good. Take a stroll down any grocery store
snack aisle. Bar-b-qued soy crisps? White cheddar popcorn?
(White cheddar?) Kettle-cooked mesquite BBQ extra-crunchy