Did You Have the Good Snack House?

I was the girl with hummus and carrots for lunch, whole grain bread hugging cashew nut butter instead of what I really wanted: the sugary peanut variety that came in plastic jars with purple stripes of grape jelly, smothered on thick between white Wonder Bread.

At my house “preservatives” was a dirty word so nothing in the refrigerator lasted longer than three days, save for the strange jars of pickled gardens that mom picked up at our local farmers’ market. The cookies had carob chips. The grabbiest munchies were almonds. If we had soda it was glass-bottled and “natural” with old-timey handwriting, the kind that quaint sandwich shops now sell in Brooklyn but we only had on special occasions.

We also didn’t have cable.

Kelly Tucker’s house had cable. We’d go there every Wednesday after school as part of some faux homework club we devised — we being me, Kelly, and our two other friends. Instead of doing homework we’d watchย TRL,ย and before Carson Daly appeared on the giant television screen we’d raid Kelly’s kitchen as if food had previously been the stuff of storybooks.

She had EVERYTHING. Gushers. Doritos. Air Heads and cheese dip. Frosted Flakes and Cap’n Crunch, Diet Coke and 7Up. The Dunkaroos were supplied in bulk; the fruit was either rolled up or by the foot. And the peanut butter — oh that glorious, glorious peanut butter — was as deliciously synthetic as the product holding up Carson Daly’s hair.

She had theย good snack house. I had the shitty one.

And you know what I’m going to ask next: which one did you have?

Images via Vogue

  • bad snack house. worst ever. toffuti cuties in lieu of ice cream

  • Leandra Medine

    SHITTY SNACK HOUSE 3,0000. MY MOM USED TO BE LIKE “GUYS! I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU!” The surprise was whole wheat pretzels OR craisins. You know what happened as a result? Beautiful revolt and this:

    • Amelia Diamond

      i love that fucking face

    • marie a

      It’s true though, I feel like my parents example backfired. I had the bad snack house and my best friend had the good. To this day she can eat one square of a chocolate bar and wrap up the rest, whereas if ANYTHING other than fruit is in my house it must be finished in one sitting. Like someone will steal it otherwise.

      • pinkschmink

        Yes! I hear you!

  • isida

    hahaha I was quite blessed- everything was freshly made but we also had some naughty treats too!


  • Brooke

    Forever and always the bad snack house, we also didn’t have cable, and our house was always messy. I was also the kid whose sandwiches and lunch snacks were wrapped in wax paper. Did my parents need to find a use for wax paper? Was it more eco-friendly than plastic baggies? No, wax paper was just as wasteful and I had paper bag lunches everyday of my childhood– the environment was not their concern. Why couldn’t I just have a plastic baggie like a normal kid?? Why?

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahaha, wax paper is so martha stewart though!!

  • Charlotte Fassler

    Really fuckin’ awesome snack house. We had everything and no one put any restrictions on me. I also had no restrictions in regards to TV and I think I am a better person for it.


  • totally the bad snack house, my best friend used to be the good snack house, and eat our sugar laden peanut butter by the spoonful when she came over. Although my mom did put a ban on mtv until we were older. So that was watched sneakily.

  • I had on the lower end of medium snack house. My mom stopped letting my father and I go grocery shopping together because we would sneak in “coco puffs” and eat them in the car.. then she would look at the receipt and we would get scolded. I would also have to admit part of the reason I love baby sitting so much on the side is so I can raid their snack cabinet. Basically any family with wheat thins and cream cheese is good with me.

    • Amelia Diamond

      baby sitting meant the BEST FOOD

  • Brie

    i had the good snack house, thanks mom, which became our “headquarters” in highschool b/c we always had munchies (we’re in Kansas, not much to do here). we had EVERYTHING a teen girl would ever want. now, as an adult (HA!), my apt is the good snack house b/c i’m always baking and there’s always awesome leftovers in the fridge just waiting for a hungry (hungover?) friend to eat.

  • Stina

    I grew up in a “good snack-house”. My mother had always homemaid cinamon-buns in the freezer. Since we lived in Sweden we used to do the sweedish coffe tradition: fika. That means having tons of buns and cookies to the evening coffe or tea. Great, you might think but I hated it! When I got home from shool I used to take a cookie instead of a fruit for a snack. That resulted in a slight overwheight as soon as I quit dancing. And every evening I had to fight really hard to resist the temptation of sugary sweets for my evening tea. So I would definately prefere to have grown up in a healthy snack home!

  • Melissa

    My house was neither the good nor bad snack house. It was the NOOOOO Snack house . . and by no snacks I mean hardly any food around ever. My mom drank all her meals so she never saw the purpose of after school snacks. There would be flour and a can of corn or something in the pantry and frozen solid meat in the deep freeze, but never anything we could just snack on. We were also the house with no cable . . and no phone. Not even a landline. Yeah, I was never home as a kid. I have memories of trying “rich people food” such as pop tarts and hot pockets and juice boxes at my friends’ houses. I am now grown up and have three kids of my own, two of which are teenagers and we always have tons of food around, both of the healthy and non-healthy varieties, but ironically my teenagers are wrestlers so they don’t do junk food, no one eats it but mom.

  • Misha Lobo

    Try the NO snack house….we were piglets when we attended parties. My Mom believed in three square meals a day – snacks ruined everything. War = snacks, Teenage Pregnancy = snacks

  • Madeline

    My mom’s favorite phrase was, “Everyone’s allergic to food coloring.” Bad snack house.

  • Liz

    snuck the snacks from friends we babysat in the summer- they smuggled in the Chips Ahoy cookies

  • BAD: I could seldom buy those special things my friends could.
    GOOD: a lot of baking and fruit gathering was done.

    Now that I am old and wise ๐Ÿ™‚ I much prefer snacking on home-made things (chia pudding – thx Kate!) and look exactly like Leandra below when lying in my bed. Hmmmmm ๐Ÿ™‚

  • NPbee

    The awesome snack house. It was a good mix of fruits in the afternoon, candy and fruity pebbles with no milk (or milk if I wanted to). I am an only child, but my mom took the approach of just never telling me I was fat (I was) and just encouraging me to do sports (gymnastics, swimming or whatever I wanted). So I never over-ate. I knew I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and that sort of kept me in check weight wise. By the time I was a teenager I started designing my own ‘healthy diet’ but my mom just supported me. She’s the best, and I am forever grateful for the bottomless mac&cheese, endless afternoons of mangoes, bananas, fruity pebbles, popcorn and candy. If I have kids, I’ll make sure they taste any and all artificial coloring/flavors under the sun!

  • pinkschmink

    Bad snack house. All our ‘treats’ came from the health food store. My mother used to get so mad when we’d come back from our grandmother’s house with our teeth practically glued together from toffee. My sister and I used to find the most implausible excuses to go round to the shop in the morning (milk that we didn’t need, newspaper that no-one ever read etc) so that we could spend a few pennies from the change on sweets and hope she wouldn’t notice. Don’t think she ever did.

    But all that probably explains why, on moving to high school and from packed lunches to cafeteria lunches, I ate pizza and fries almost every day for a year and went from skinny to chunky in mere weeks. This is why I don’t deny my daughter treats โ€“ she has to earn them, but I never make her feel like it’s some kind of forbidden fruit (ha!) that she’ll strive her whole childhood trying to sneak a bite of. It’s just as unhealthy as letting kids eat whatever the hell they want.

    • Jamie James

      Same. Soon as I started getting an allowance I blew up because I was trying all the snacks I’d been forbidden from having before! I think balance is important-what you’re doing with your daughter is awesome.

      • pinkschmink

        Thank you! I just hope it works! She’s seven today, and I think I’m not doing too badly so far … ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lea

    My snack house was somewhere in between. My mom would sometimes let my sister and I indulge in Lay’s Salt n’ Vinegar chips or ice cream, but normally we ate pretty healthy. So, I would collect change and ride my bike to the local grocery store to buy 2 candy bars at a time and on the way home I would eat one and then hide the other one for later. On Sundays after church my sister, my cousin, and I would have what we called “Cheesefest” and we’d binge on cheese and wash it down with rootbeer. Sneaky snackin’ for life!

  • leah

    good snack house! so many pizza pops and neon kraft dinner…basically anything with faux-cheese. plus I had a swing and slide in my room that my dad made for me….queen of the sleepover parties!

  • Definitely the shitty snack house in that we, too, were thrown those large carrots that grocery stores market to horse owners, whenever we exclaimed the onset of hunger. My mom also puts out dinner leftovers when friends come over in hopes that she doesn’t have to throw out any food products away because there’s really nothing that makes her more depressed than “seeing us throw away the nourishment that our lifestyle affords when our fellow citizens of the world are starving and scrambling for clean water, and our poor, little earth is struggling to keep up with irresponsible consumption like that of my complaining children.”

    On special occasions (meaning when things are on sale), she’ll come back with a selection of mangoes and other tropical fruits.

    I’ve never once had a friend say “hey, Emma, can I come to your house instead?”

    (Amelia, I feel like your post could also be part of an installment called “You Know You’re a Bay Area Kid When….”)

  • Kristen

    The tastes good/bad for you snack house. My mum loves to bake and always makes bread, brownies, cake, cookies, cinnamon buns, the works. I say to myself “I’m going to try and eat healthier!” and my mum says, “I just made brownies and whipped cream!” Christ.

  • Calla

    My mum runs a farmers market, so you can only imagine! Everyday people asked me if that was grass in my sandwich…

  • Ida Almasi

    I would beg my mom to buy the fake frozen orange juice concentrate that you put in a blender which then turns into an at home sugary-frothy-Orange-Julius-bev-o-glory.
    She would never buy and I, in turn, revolted like Leandra.

  • Ranim

    We had the good snack-house, then my mom read Fit for Life one summer vacation, and boom! Bad snack house.

  • We had no snacks at home, but if we wanted something sweet, we just asked parents for the money and went to the shop to buy whatever we liked. However at my boyfriend’s it was all-snacks-house and my boyfriend ended up overweight and his sister bulimic. Soooo, I am not a big fan of snacks at home. But also thanks to my growing up in Eastern Bloc (Czechoslovakia) I consider bananas and oranges a snack – we only got them in December while standing in the line. Wow, I’ve just realized there is one thing I am actually grateful communists for. Ughh!

  • “good” snack house. not too much soda but we had the chips, trix yogurt, capri sun and all that jazz. reese’s cups by the pound. it was bad, but at least we still had homemade food. then again, cuban food isn’t all that healthy but oh so yummy! I get what you guys mean about control though, i can’t really eat that many sweets anymore and if i do now i just have a bit and leave some for later. but tehen again, it’s also extremely difficult to make the healthy choice!

  • Liz

    I had a bad snack house. My mom stooped as low as to tell me Dunkaroos weren’t being made anymore. When I was 16 I started working at a grocery store and realized I had been lied to for the last 10 years.

    • Melissa

      I had never heard of Dunkaroos so I had to Google them and see what they looked liked . . .I have never seen them either. Maybe it was a regional thing or something but I totally missed the boat on those. Unless they still make them . . .

      • Liz

        Not sure if they still make them. If you ever do happen to come across them pick them up. You could google dunkaroo dip and make your own but i’m sure homemade dunkaroos don’t give you the same experience of saving as much frosting as you can until the end so your last cookie is just a giant frosting mound.

  • The amazing fantastic expended snack house. I wouldn’t eat much and would take my mum to a near-to-desperation-level-of-worry. So, she would fill the house with lots of everything other kids loved. The thing is, I didn’t eat those as well. But she tried. ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks for sharing, Amelia.

  • Tamara

    Growing up I would say we had the medium snack house. Now, we have the good one…but not for fake food…for real, homemade food. Best quality homemade baked goods filled with butter and chocolate. Fresh bagels. Everybody’s favorites always here.

  • Christina Quinn

    I had a pretty solid snack house (shoutout to Gushers and eating a bowl of ice cream every day after school) however I was the babysitter at a VERY bad snack house. Once when my friend and I were babysitting as a team, we grew so desperate that we literally broke apart a waffle cone in an effort to feed our rumbling stomachs. This presumably occurred after we’d already consumed the small bowl of edamame left out for our dining pleasure…

  • Rebekah

    bad snack house—- emergen C instead of pixie stix

  • Heather

    We had a few good snacks, peanut M&Ms that Mom bought at Costco in bulk and she hid behind the pots and pans. But I found them! She taught me how to bake cookies, so I would help bake them so they were in endless supply. My BFF in grade school had the good stuff: ravioli in a can, sugary cereal, Kool Aid. Kids go nuts over Kool Aid.

  • Anthony

    Shitty, but not because we have “healthy snacks”. The thing is, I NEVER have snacks, and when we do, they’re extremely regulated. Like a handful of doriros ecery two days, otherwise we have NO snacks and are expected to just be satisfied with the food that is cooked. If we get hungry we are only allowed to make a sandwich. It’s been pretty hard lately because my mom has gotten really lazy with cooking, so at times my meal is a sandwich I make myself, on top of having no snacks. Sometimes by the time we find out we have oreos or doritos there all gone because the youngest kid eats them all. Ugh miserable life in terms of food. :/