Judging from memes and posts all over the internet, too much snacking is one of the great challenges of the Covid-19 quarantine, along with a dearth of tests, personal protective equipment, and medical supplies. Clearly snacking ranks pretty low on the CDC’s list of concerns, but for folks trapped at home who have no control over the medical supply chain, snacking is a big issue, especially the disappearance of snack foods from pantries well-stocked by panic buying. If your snack supply is quickly dwindling, you may be living with a Snackasaurus Rex.
As the name implies, Snackasaurus Rex is the king (or queen) snacker in your household. This person can devour an entire box of Cheez-Its in one sitting and doesn’t realize he’s doing it until he reaches the bottom of the box. Whole bags of chips, cans of salted nuts, boxes of Girl Scout cookies, all the candy you’ve acquired for Easter–nothing is safe from Snackasaurus Rex. And she doesn’t stop at snack foods. When that jar of olives for penne puttanesca or the bag of coconut for Thai curry goes missing, you can blame that on your Snackasaurus.
Thankfully, Snackasaurus Rex can be thwarted. Just like in Jurassic Park, where complete stillness and turning off the lights saved the day, sort of, you can make your home Snackasaurus-proof. Here’s how.
(Before we go any further, if you are the Snackasaurus Rex of your household, hand the computer or device over to someone else. You’ve already proven you can’t help yourself. An intervention is required.)
- Creative Snack-caching
Hiding food is your first line of defense. Husband or son your Snackasaurus? Hide snacks in old purses in your closet. Purses are sacred territory, like Indian burial grounds in old westerns. Men are afraid of purses, those magical bags that can produce every item known to mankind, from decades old rolls of Certs to an entire screwdriver set. Messing with big magic leads to bad juju. Your snacks will rest safely. Other places menfolk tend to avoid include the china cabinet and the linen closet.
Wife or daughter chowing down on all your snacks? Your wife’s old purses won’t help you there. You need to hide snacks with the gross-out factor in mind. Stash those Doritos under the sink in your son’s bathroom that he hasn’t cleaned—ever. Bury the Mint Milanos in your gym bag, wrapping them in your shorts for extra protection. Safe as Fort Knox.
The real upside to hiding snacks is that you can bring them out gradually over the course of your confinement. When you surprise your family, including Snackasaurus Rex, with an unopened bag of Lays barbecue potato chips in late April after the entire potato chip herd has been hunted to extinction, you will be the hero of the pandemic.
- The Great Wall of Chicken Stock
When you’ve run out of hiding places, the only choice you have is to build a physical barrier between Snackasaurus Rex and your provisions. Luckily, you’ve been planning for this day. You just didn’t know it. A survey of your pantry will probably reveal one or two items that you have stockpiled unintentionally. These are the items you pick up at the grocery store time and time again because you’re just not sure you have any at home. For me, it’s chicken stock, evaporated milk, pureed pumpkin, and cloves. (Clearly the holidays are my stockpiling time.) Sometimes I look at my pantry and wonder if I’ll ever work my way through this superfluity.
But today, Chicken Stock, is your day. Cloves, it’s time to answer the call.
These items are probably at the back of your pantry, but it’s time they took center stage. Use them to construct a wall that hides the real food. Like camouflage, this wall will confuse Snackasaurus Rex and may lead to comments like “There’s no food in the house” and “How much pumpkin does one family need?” Mission accomplished.
Outsmarting Snackasaurus has another benefit besides preserving your provisions and preventing starvation. It’s something to do. If you’re worried that battling Snackasaurus Rex will take too much time away from that jigsaw puzzle or bingeing on Tiger King, remember, those things aren’t going anywhere, and neither are you.