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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

A Show Of Support For Snack Stress

Of all the topics that have appeared in this column over the years, none caused more conversation than last year’s commentary on sports and the culture of after-game snacks. In an attempt to be humorous, I detailed my experiences in the world of sports snacks and admitted my biggest fear was forgetting the snacks entirely.

One week after the column ran, I forgot the snacks. Turns out, though, I’m not alone. Lots of you forget them, too.

I was reminded of this last week at opening day of the Little League baseball season, when more than a dozen people at different times made a point of walking across the perfectly manicured Hawaii Kai playing fields to share their own anecdotes and personal horror stories. It’s remarkable, really, how many parents understand my anxiety about under-performing or forgetting my turn entirely.

In the course of the past year, I’ve had the snack column brought up dozens of times, and in a wide variety of social circles. It’s made me a lot more relaxed this year, especially now that I know so many people think like I do. OK, most of them probably wouldn’t make their thoughts as public, but I’ve had at least two groups of baseball moms who said they cheered to hear a lone voice stand up and protest the cost and the commitment. And it’s been fun to hear the stories of other people who stress and anguish over something that used to be simple. In the year since writing the snack column, what’s become apparent are those to whom the snacks mean the least – the kids.

This year, however, I’ve decided to embrace the season and its snacks. I’ve got multi-page calendars up on the fridge, roster at the ready, a list of parent phone numbers (crucial when you need to alter the snack routine) and oh, yes, the actual game schedules. It’s reassuring, in a way, to know that I’m not the only parent out there enjoying watching my boys play ball, all the while stressing the delivery of the after-game meal …

It’s been an interesting week in the world of food. New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prizewinning author Michael Moss debuted his book,

Sweet, Salty, Fat, to much media attention, and our own Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a front-page feature last Monday extolling the powers of a diet rich in fruits, grains, nuts and fresh vegetables. It’s a perfect way to eat for Hawaii, as recommended foods on the “Mediterranean Diet” also include fish, fresh olive oil and red wine. Good news for us, as we live in a place with several Mediterranean-style restaurants, a store that sells fresh olive oil, numerous great wine stores and farmers markets every day of the week. There’s a rise, too, in restaurants that are bowing to public demand and replacing their menus with lower fat, sugar and salt options. Romano’s Macaroni Grill started reducing fat, calories and sugar in its dishes years ago, and its “new” look features a menu filled with Mediterranean-style, lighter dishes that include pan-seared fillets of sea bass with vine-ripened tomatoes, arugula and cannelloni beans; olives in a citrus marinade; pesto shrimp and avocado crostini; and grilled salmon with oregano and thyme over sun-dried tomato orzo. Add a glass of house red wine and you couldn’t feel healthier!

Happy eating!

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