Snack Habit

Thursday, November 5, 2009

-Two seconds before I inhaled this lonely persimmon chip.-

-half a package of mint M&M's
-a few spoonfuls of pomegranate seeds
-a quarter of an onion bagel
-a pear
-far too many Cheeze-its (aka: the snack that proves God loves me)

I ate all of this between the oatmeal I had for breakfast and my late lunch of a simple salad of bok choi salad with croutons, oil, and vinegar.

Snacking has become my new bad habit. No longer a conscious act, it's become totally reflexive. Simple potato chip syndrome: my hand mechanically moving in a perpetual cycle between snack and mouth. Half the time I don't even realize I'm eating.

Worse is the control issue; like a salt hungry zombie I'll shuffle over to the kitchen in a daze and bust our a bag of kettle corn and bring it back to the couch where I'm working. Five minutes later, it'll dawn on me that, holy crap, I'm eating popcorn! Again! Ten minutes after I just put it away!

What's scary is the speed and quantity I shovel it into my face. Like a disciple of Eat Beast I just shove it into my maw in such quantities, my God, it's surprising my jaw doesn't just unhinge like an anaconda. Certainly, I was hoovering it in so fast enough that somewhere starving orphans spontaneously broke out into tears without understanding why.

In a huff of frustration I gathered up all the evil snacks in my house and put them on the community table in the kitchen at work (I'll be damned before I throw out go food, so instead I'll just take everyone down on the train to Chubbyville with me). No more chips and sweets for Garrett.

Still, let's be honest, stopping a bad habit cold turkey isn't that simple. Smokers use patches to ween themselves away from their sweet siren nicotine. I had to do the same.

Fruit, usually, are the snacks that our mothers gave us. A big bowl of pomegranate seeds is always swell, but quite a bit of work and not the stuff of a simple snack. Pears are great, and to help ease the pain I put a huge bowl of them at my desk. Sadly, it's not uncommon for one or two to go missing thus leaving me hungry. (Note to coworkers: I WILL find out who keeps purloining my pears.)

I have plenty of persimmons though, a fruit that I have an awkward relationship with. For me, persimmons are like someone you always go on bad dates with but always have great sex with afterwards. I hate persimmons cut up and served straight; they're far too sweet, like biting into floral, saccharic flesh. However, when cooked, dried out, baked, or candied they're awesome. In other words I only enjoy them in certain instances for specific reasons.

I decided then that I needed to make a sweet and easy snack using these persimmons. Something I could prepare ahead of time then whisk to my desk or to work to nibble away at uncontrollably sans guilt.

Recalling a simple recipe for persimmon chips I went to work while restraining myself from sneaking a piece of cranberry cake as I prepped. A quick bath in some simple syrup and then baked on low heat for a few hours (not all of us have dehydrators) and the persimmons would become a crunchy sweet snack that would keep my mouth and hands occupied.

If you're planning to be around your home doing house work or writing a blog post or something these are the perfect background recipe for you. Very little work with tasty payoff. A novel solution for any other snackers out there.

-I believe that snacks are tastier when they're nice to look at.-

Persimmon Chips
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
2 persimmons
1 lime
kosher salt (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpats.

2. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin set to 2.0, make thin slices of persimmon. Place in a bowl and toss with the lime juice.

3. Bring the sugar an water to a boil and then bring down to a simmer over low heat. Place in the persimmon slices and let cook for two minutes.

4. Using a slotted spoon or a fork transfer the slices to the prepared baking sheets. If you want give them a tiny dash of kosher salt, being careful as too much will cover up the delicate taste of the persimmon (personally, I prefer them with no salt).

5. Bake for 2 hours then flip the slices over and bake for another 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

-Not quite a cheeze-it. But they're both orange so close enough, right?-


  1. Like a bad date with good sex? I'm IN! I love persimmons. These are Hachiya? Would it work with Fuyu?

    These are so gorgeous I want to make them just to photograph them! Thanks!

  2. I ate about half a bag of mint M&Ms last night. I'm pretty sure there's some sort of drug hiding behind the mint.

  3. Some food looks delicious, some food looks interesting, these simply look beautiful, and who wouldn't love eating beautiful food!

  4. Cool! Good luck with your controlled snacking, Garrett - it helps to be mindful, that's all. Or brew tea? I'm heading out to the grocery store later today, so perhaps I'll pick up some - it'll be my first date with persimmons!

    I tried this with kiwis a month ago, even using lime juice as well, but didn't boil them in simple syrup first. What does that do to the fruit? Could my omission have been the reason the kiwis ended up sticky, kinda bitter, and rubbery instead of crunchy and sweet?

  5. Oh my goodness! I almost died laughing when I read this, I am sadly trapped in the evils of snacking. *sigh*
    But thank you for the entertaining post. :-)

  6. I've always been a gluttonous snacker. Embarrassing as it is, in the past food was just as much about quantity as it was quality. So, I tried to gorge myself on fruits and veggies, which works...usually. I do well with honeydew, cantelope, banana slices drizzled in chocolate.

    But it nutritionally beats the cheez-its..or in my case, pop tarts.

  7. Good call on the tough relationship with persimmons; you never forget your first bad bite. But the chips look tasty...and gorgeous. (With some salt and fairy cheese dust, who knows....)

  8. Snacking is my lifelong hobby- unfortunately. Just lost 8 kilo and am trying to "relearn" better snacking habits. These persimmons look and sound just right for me. Thanks!

  9. Are these squishy or crunchy persimmons?

  10. I love persimmons! And these chips look so beautiful, too. ~ Belle

  11. Ah, the snacking habit. Hard to break; better to convert to healthier foods, as you're finding. I'm definitely a fan of persimmons with other things. A favorite combination in this house is wedges of persimmons draped or wrapped with paper-thin slices of good-quality air-dried ham, with an optional squeeze of lemon or lime and a grinding of black pepper.

    I've also had them frozen, which is so refreshing on a hot day. A memorable lunch on a hot day in Seoul ended with a frozen persimmon (the round type, probably "dam gam" according to Wikipedia) with a bowl of sweet rice drink. I can highly recommend it -- and I've got a recipe for the drink if you're interested. :)

    I'm looking forward to trying your chip recipe.

  12. *Sigh* I miss persimmons. The native variety that grows in Indiana is the size of a jawbreaker and terribly bland. The unripe ones in the grocery store are even worse.

  13. I love you.

    I needed a good laugh and this was it.

  14. I never thought to make chips out of persimmons plus they look so beautiful

  15. Wow these are beautiful. Would look stunning when served with dessert


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