Book and Snack Pairing, first edition

My plan for this Book and Snack Pairing post series is to taste snacks (two new and one old favorite) and pair them with romances (two recent first time reads and one old favorite). The romances reflect my reading habits, so they tend contemporary, and are a mix of pairings. I am marking the ones with no sex with ***.

(As a general heads up, this post discusses food in detail.)

Of course, with any tasting project, we all bring our own specificity to it. In my case, some relevant things for this post:

  • I’m autistic, so texture and mouthfeel are very important to me, and I am super sensitized sensorily due to autistic burnout, so intense flavors are likely more intense and often overwhelming for me.
  • I’m diabetic, so one of the things that influences my choice and experience of snacks is how they impact my blood sugar.
  • I don’t generally enjoy things with a lot of heat, for a bunch of reasons. Some of which are about my health conditions, some are about my personal taste and experience of that kind of intense flavor, and some are about culture. (I was raised by a Midwestern white Jewish parent who mostly flavored things with salt, pepper, and garlic, and that has impacted my palate.)

This post is focused on chips!

I decided to pick flavors I associate with Jewish delis because I spent half my life in NYC and I’m a Jewish queer who deeply misses Jewish delis out here in the Bay Area.

New-to-Me Snack #1

Why did I pick this snack?

When I got this idea of tasting snacks (two new and one old favorite) and pairing them with romances, I knew I wanted to try pickle flavored chips. I love pickles, and I love chips. I have been wary to try pickle flavored chips because I’m pretty particular about my pickle flavoring in actual pickles…translating full sour garlic dill pickles  to a chip? Was it even possible?

kettle brand jalapeno

I order my groceries online, and sometimes they get them wrong, or substitute things. I ordered pickle flavored chips, but ended up with Jalapeño. A bait and switch! I generally don’t like jalapeño flavored things, so I considered giving them away, but decided to try them, because wow have I had bait and switch reading experiences. These are Kettle brand potato chips. My current fave of Kettle brand potato chips is the yogurt and green onion flavor, which I’ve liked for years.

The taste experience?

They mostly smell like potato. But they have little green flecks. The crunch is great, satisfying. You can definitely get the fried experience, and the salt, but they aren’t greasy. The heat doesn’t hit immediately, then it spreads and sticks around for at least a minute. It’s not overpowering, but it’s definitely present. (And my gauge for that is likely quite different than for folks who really like heat.)

Verdict?

I don’t think these are for me, but the crunch is excellent. I’d eat them in a pinch, if I was in a place where I was up for the heat. (Being up for heat is a variable thing for me.)

What book would I pair it with?

medium sweet extra shot of geekMedium Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper!***

For the bait and switch aspect, because the blurb is misleading, and I went in expecting a really different book. I enjoyed this contemporary m/m romance novella centering a quiet reserved vet barista and an outgoing geeky man who just keeps on flirting. It’s not my fave of the Cooper books I’ve tried, but its still worth the read. Just don’t read the blurb!

(Rep: Latinx gay MC. Bi MC.)

 

New-to-Me Snack #2

lays kettle cooked cream cheese and chive

Why did I pick this snack?

Here is another kettle potato chip, different brand with a flavor that’s more my style. Lays Kettle Cooked Cream Cheese and Chive. I love chive cream cheese on a bagel, or even a bagel chip. So I definitely wanted to see what a chip flavored like that would be. My current fave of Lays Kettle Chips is their mesquite BBQ flavor.

The taste experience?

They smell like sour cream and onion chips, though I get a stronger sense of potato. And they have little green flecks. They seem to basically taste the same as sour cream and onion chips, too. I don’t get a particularly cream cheese taste from them, except perhaps at the end? The crunch is okay, but it’s not as satisfying a texture experience as the Kettle brand jalapeño ones I just had.

Verdict?

They are tasty, but don’t strike me as something particularly new. More like a chip that quietly goes about doing the things I like in a chip without knocking my faves out of their spot. I will definitely be finishing the 8oz bag I got. As far as vaguely sour cream and onion flavored kettle chips go, I’d pick Kettle brand yogurt and onion as my standout old fave, which is a bit tangier but has a better crunch, is a bit more satisfying.

What book would I pair it with?

Playing with Desire by Reese Ryan

Playing with Desire by Reese Ryan!

A solid, enjoyable m/f category romance with some of my favorite tropes, that hits the right beats. I especially liked the banter between the MCs, and enjoyed Ryan’s writing style. I will definitely be trying more of her work in the future!

(Rep: Afro Latinx heroine. Black multiracial British hero. Black woman author.)

Old Fave Snack

snack factory everything pretzel crisps

Why did I pick this snack?

I adore pretzel crisps. They have all the great things I love about pretzels but more crunch. Plus you can dip them more easily, spread things on them. And as a diabetic, it’s great to know that I can eat more of them without messing with my blood sugar too much. These are Snack factory brand Everything deli style pretzel crisps and they are the ruler of the pretzel crisp in my opinion. Definitely an old favorite. And they are all about reproducing my favorite kind of bagel–the everything bagel–in pretzel form.

The taste experience?

I worked in a bagel shop in my early 20s and while these don’t smell like bagels (no yeasty bready aspect) they do very much smell like the seeds of the everything bagel. The poppy seed smell is the most intense but I can also get the caraway seed and onion. They have a lovely crunch, though a very different one from the kettle chips I just tried. The onion flavor is the strongest, then salt, then the pretzel itself, but each bite carries something different, and the caraway seeds are strongest at the aftertaste. I’m trying these plain today, but I usually spread cream cheese on them like I would a bagel. They do impact my blood sugar more than the potato chips. I can feel the impact after just four of them.

Verdict?

I love how complex and layered the taste is, and how it shifts. These are an old fave for a reason.

What book would I pair it with?

knit one girl twoKnit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman!***

I adore this fun fluffy contemporary f/f romance novella centering Jewish queer girl artist MCs. I especially liked how Jewish it felt, the geekiness, the fabulous incidental fat rep, and the sweetness between the MCs. This is a steady go-to for me on a hard day.

(Rep: Lesbian Jewish MC. Bisexual fat Jewish MC. Bisexual Jewish woman author.)

 

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