January 06, 2015


I have certain beloved New Year traditions, all centering on sloth. 

Ideally, December 31 involves a good movie, new pajamas, and maybe the snap-pop of a single party cracker; January 1 involves a spicy Bloody Mary (horseradish is key), updating my address book as I write holiday cards to friends, and browsing the unread literary journals accumulated in the previous year. But the reality of teaching in a low-residency graduate program is that early January is your gathering time. Which means my post-holiday is now fraught with student emails and seminar prep. 

Which means: all-nighters. 

Which means: snacks. 

My personal indulgence is tinned, smoked oysters, locating me somewhere aesthetically between Walt Whitman and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not a bad place to be. 

Wasabi peas run a close second. 

The classic Triscuit / raw almond combo is a distant third.

Salmon roe stirred into rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds is good, but pricey. Anything sweet is too distracting, whether coconut sorbet or teriyaki seaweed. Folks mention popcorn as a favorite, and I can recognize the caloric motivation (volume without guilt), but there's no idea in something that leaves grease on the fingertips. I take this very seriously! There's an art to tactical snacking. 

The above illustration by Wendy MacNaughton appeared in a 2011 New York Times Book Review as "Snacks of the Great Scribblers." I was reminded of it by Leslie Pietrzyk, a fellow low-res teacher, DC-area writer, and blogger. Check out "Works-in-Progress," if you have not already--her latest post is a great discussion of strategies for revision. Leslie also edits Redux ("Work worth a second run"), an online literary journal devoted to posting things that originally appeared in print only. 

2015 holds the promise of all kinds of adventures. For now, just gotta keep working. So this is my quick, reasonably happy, utterly salty hello in the New Year. More to come. 


Diane Lockward said...

Try the Triscuit Sweet Potato cracker. Love them. I have never in my entire life pulled an all-nighter, though I've had many nights when I couldn't sleep, but then I've been in bed trying really hard to sleep.

I would choose death rather than eat an oyster.

Amoli Kothari said...
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