Food Column: A New Year for New Snacks

Photo contributed. Teresa Gelbman.

by Teresa Gelbman

In my absolute aloneness and boredom, with my husband Jeff working out of state and the fact I’m too busy for my own good, I decided I needed another hobby, so I joined a splinter group of a Weird and Wonderful Finds Facebook group I was already in.

The new group just happens to be for national and international snack exchanges. Using an exchange app, addresses were entered, and we were randomly assigned to someone in the US of A or outside of it. Candy and snack requests were made, allergies listed (gluten-free for me), prices decided on, shopping done, packages mailed, and—Bob’s your uncle—you got snacks!

It’s kind of like a dating app, but instead of meeting potential love interests, you get stuff to eat.

I’ve exchanged treats with four folks so far: three in the US and one from far away Australia. The yummies I’ve received have been interesting, to say the least; I’m sharing with you, dear reader, a few of the more memorable pickings.

From Idaho: Idaho Spud bites—tasty little chocolate and coconut-covered cocoa-flavored “spuds” of whipped marshmallow lusciousness. They’re light, delicate, and wonderful. I also got super sweet, and crunchy freeze-dried Skittles, which I was informed are all the rage in Idaho. My niece and nephew loved them.
From Alaska, I was sent reindeer meat sticks, canned salmon, birch tree syrup, and some chocolate bars that I shared with my friend Ron—he said they were yummy!
Florida sent plantain chips and some totally delicious locally made salted caramel marshmallows.

And lastly—but by no means leastly—from the land down under came an amazing assortment of gluten-free and low FODMAP snacks. My favorite by far was the KEZ’S Choco Raspberry Vienna Eclairs: little jam-filled chocolate-dipped cookies that are gluten-free and low FODMAP!

I didn’t mention low FODMAP in my snack requests because it’s not so well known, and there aren’t really any store-bought processed foods in the US that are labeled low-FODMAP friendly. So, boy, oh boy, was I not only surprised but absolutely thrilled to eat these cookies all by myself and not share them with anyone!

It turns out my Aussie snack pal is a dietitian whose main area of expertise is low FODMAP diets! The cookies were heaven, and I could actually eat them without suffering side effects. I had no itchy rash, no bloating, and no tummy or intestine issues. It’s amazing to eat processed foods and feel OK after. Because I’m a giver, I shared the other candies and snacks with friends and family, but not my cookies! Those were all mine.

The tasty treats I sent were mainly of the Japanese variety. They have high-value status, and most folks have a craving for them. Granted, they are pretty frickin’ amazing and, according to my Idaho snack pal, not available in her area. Mexican candies are also a big hit, and as “Malibu” has Land of Oz status to those living elsewhere, anything locally made was also coveted.
Happy snacking new year!