The taco is mighty. It may not receive the elite fawning of trendier foodstuffs, but it is one of the real behind-the-scenes power chows. Unfortunately, whether it’s the 3-finger Mexican tacos or those baffling American ones that come in the stale hardshells that shatter at the speed of sound as soon as they come in contact with teeth, you can’t eat tacos while reading a book. This sad reality stands in contrast to that of the pizza. Pizza is feasible for the reader, in most cases. We note this particular dichotomy only to show that no matter the inherent quality of the food item, its readability is a distinct property.
[Note: this list of foods you can eat while reading is not exhaustive, of course, but if you throw pizza in here, most sensible people could live off the items on this list. Plus fruit, which is important.]
Hummus – As long as its container is not so empty that you have to chase it around the table with a pita chip, you can absorb gallons of garbanzo bean curd and hundreds of pages of text with zero logistical difficulties. Plus, hummus is pretty damn healthy. Yes, even gallons of it; drowning aside, it is scientifically impossible to eat too much hummus.
The Corn Family – This is basically corn dogs, corn chips and bourbon, but not actual corn. Corn (on the cob or separated into little bits) requires full concentration. Dogs, chips and booze do not. Watch the mustard on the dog.
Sushi – Assuming you are not in a restaurant and have to repeatedly stop to order, this is just effortless.
Special Caveat Section: There are some specific foods that are especially bad to eat while reading.
SPAGHETTI – Little red dots will begin appearing on the page as you splash the saucy noodles around. Ugly. You will forever be reminded of your sloppiness, because those little red dots will never come off the page.
RAMEN – Same, but not necessarily red dots, just tiny little distortions on the paper, like the old books at Grandpa’s, but without that comforting Eau d’Grandpa aroma.
This could easily be your hand or worse, your book – photo nogg3r5
FAJITAS – These are just ambitious tacos.
STEAK – It is a bad idea to read while using a knife. This one covers most slab-like meats.
RIBS – How? Your book will end up looking like a murder weapon.
Chocolate & Wine – Someday, books will actually be packaged with chocolate and wine, in little curated combinations. Someday. For now, you’ll just have to take a DIY approach. Chocolate & wine are an obviously workable set of elements, with almost infinitely variable combinations. Careful of the chocolate getting melty. Also, it’s generally bad form to wear shoes if you’re taking the C&W route, unless it’s chilly.
A note on sandwiches: Sandwiches are a fifty/fifty proposition. The neater a sandwich – for instance, the organized PBJs grandma used to make – the more they work for reading. On the other hand, a gnarly 5-inch hoagie with all kinda awesome tumbling down its steep sides should just be its own activity.
THIS WHOLE DAMN TABLE. These guys know what’s up. photo Dennis Crowley
“Finger Foods” – Anything you can mindlessly reach over and pick up and put in your mouth without taking your eye off the page. Examples: fries, rings, chips, tots, anything in the mozzarella stick family (eg cheese curds), any type of nugget, “pocket”-style snacks, “turnover”-style snacks, cookies, vegetable platter, grapes, a giant pickle, spanakopita, samosas, pups in a blanket, fried shrimp, unfried shrimp, sliders, egg rolls, gyoza, most dim sum, small stuffed items, cute little mini pizzas, any miniature version of a normal-size food but prob not wings. Nachos are tough. Watch the greasy fingers here, but basically the sky’s the limit.
Pastries – Generally, pastries are made to eat while reading. Picture a donut on a napkin or some type of tart on a plate with a tiny fork and a hot beverage. Muffins and cupcakes are in this group, just don’t be in a hurry, as you have to peel away the little paper or foil “cup”, and you’ll want to be careful of frosting and/or dripping butter. Scones are good.
Oatmeal, etc. – Most hot cereals will work because, unlike cold cereals, they are too thick to make splashes when you dribble – which you undoubtedly will. Adding fruit or chunky peanut butter or cinnamon or chocolate chips or whatever for flavor/nutrition will not affect its “readability”.
— skipping a conclusion cuz I’m suddenly hungry
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