I Can’t Shut Up About: Deep dives into my online obsession of the week.
All women really only want one thing: a snack. Though in recent years, we may have strived to be salad girlies and sourdough mothers, the truth of our collective gremlin self remains. We simply want to subsist on nasty little treats. This is clearly the impetus behind a growing food trend on TikTok celebrating depraved food combinations — specifically, those food combinations that we secretly shovel into our mouths when no one else is looking. Combos that some have dubbed the “rat snack.”
The rat snack is self-evident. It is goblin mode for your midday hunger pangs. It’s a heh, heh, heh you can eat. It’s a perverse mix of whatever ingredients you can get your grubby little paws on when your brain and body shout, “Hungry now!” For some, it’s a piece of toast topped with cinnamon apples, pecans, and a Kraft single. For others, it’s a pickle spear wrapped in melted cheese. However, there is no wrong way to create and enjoy a rat snack because a rat snack, at its core, is unabashedly wrong.
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Though the rat snack isn’t yet as ubiquitous as, say, TikTok’s baked feta pasta, we all know a rat snack when we see one. (An almond pressed haphazardly into a single bite of string cheese; a Cheez-It dipped into a tub of cottage cheese. Fittingly, cheese is among the most common components of a rat snack.) One of the most prominent voices in the rat-snack community is dietician Abbey Sharp (@abbeyskitchen). Though some of her rat snacks are more high maintenance than her aforementioned apple-and-cheese toastie, the motivation remains the same: a food combo that will be satisfying to some and induce vomiting in others.
To be clear, the “rat” in rat snack is not pejorative. Think Pizza Rat as a celebrated New York icon. Or Cinderella’s Gus Gus with a stack of corn as tall as his body. Rats famously have non-discerning taste in snacks, a state of being each of us has experienced at least once between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. And who among us doesn’t long to gleefully trot away from the kitchen with a corn kernel the size of our head? Did you know rats can dance? And some have even made prestigious careers from sniffing out land mines? These are the rats for whom we snack.
Scoff as you might, you have most certainly had a rat snack in your time. Perhaps it was a graham cracker dipped into a container of Funfetti frosting. Maybe it was a buttered tortilla sprinkled with Everything But the Bagel seasoning. To help jog your rodent memory, here are some of the rat snacks I have concocted as recently as last night:
- Melted chocolate chips and peanut butter mixed with a crunched-up handful of whatever cereal I have had on hand
- An entire can of black olives with a handful of pretzel sticks
- Sad nachos, composed of shredded cheese, hot sauce, and the crumbles at the bottom of a bag of tortilla chips. Microwaved for 15ish seconds. A rat snack demands immediacy.
- Saltines dipped in McDonald’s Sweet ‘N Sour sauce
- A spoonful of feta cheese and capers
- Alternating pinches of sprinkles and cashews
The only rule of a rat snack is that there is no judgment. This is not the time for elevated palates, for nuanced flavor, for balance. It is the time of rats. Bon appétit, my fellow vermin.