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Ask Chris Black: What Are You Snacking On in Quarantine?

Photo: Alix Rutsey

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, Chris Black is here to answer it in a regular column.

What sort of snacks have you been indulging in during quarantine

Snacking is the enemy but unfortunately unavoidable when locked inside virtually all day. I am not going insane, but I am letting myself have a little something — especially on days when I burn more than 1,000 calories on a self-distanced outdoor run.

SkinnyPop popcorn is a go-to. It’s light, vegan, gluten free, and certified kosher! Good luck not finishing an entire bag in one sitting. SMFH.

Organic nut butter is essential in any kitchen. My fave is this creamy almond butter from MaraNatha. Add it to a piece of Ezekiel bread with fresh berries, put it in a protein-packed smoothie, or take a couple of hits straight off the damn spoon. No rules, baby!

Almonds — specifically sprouted almonds — are the superior nut. I buy them from already sprouted (which means they’ve been soaked in water for a period of time), but you can also buy any regular raw almonds like these from Target and soak/sprout them yourself. Sprouted almonds taste just as great, and the soaking makes them easier to digest and chew.

Hippie Snacks Cauliflower Crisps absolutely slap. The crunch is sublime, and even though they are gluten free and vegan, they give off a little cheese flavor. A++!

Lentil chips are an excellent alternative to tortilla chips. I like the sea-salt flavor from Saffron Road; they’re baked, gluten free, and vegan. If you are feeling crazy, you can even dip them in hummus.

Okay, look, I am only human. If it has been a tough day in isolation, I reach for a yellow bag of classic peanut M&Ms. The chocolate mixed with that peanut crunch has been satiating my sweet tooth for years. We all need a cheat day!

My parents were meant to be in NYC for Mother’s Day. Floor seats for Hamilton, reservations at Eleven Madison Park, you know the vibes. I’m looking to ship my mom a gift basket or special treat from a city restaurant/Jewish deli/gift shop to help support New York in this time of crisis and remind her of what once again will be. National shipping offers only, please.

Putting your parents through Hamilton?! I do not know the vibes! But all jokes aside, this is a great idea to make your beloved mother feel missed in this uncertain time.

We are going uptown, to Zabar’s, because nothing says New York more than a basket stuffed with fresh rye bread, onion rolls, pastrami, mustard, and chocolate babka. It even has a MetroCard cookie! Your parents can gorge themselves and forget about a fussy four-hour meal at Eleven Madison Park.

Pizza is another New York staple. Some would say Joe’s, in Greenwich Village, is the best. A little greasy and a thin, easy-to-fold crust. Send a few pies to Mom. Buon appetito!

Look, Magnolia Bakery might be a little corny, but the banana pudding is still insane. I wouldn’t wait in line for it, but mailing it to your mom is a beautiful gesture. She will probably recognize it from Sex and the City :)

I’m in the market for some lightweight pants/chinos that’ll get me through the approaching summertime heat. Been eyeing the Uniqlo Ultra Light Kandos, but not sure if they are too formal? I’d prefer a pair that can be dressed down and up.

Chinos, in general, are going to be of a lighter weight than jeans; they will breathe a bit and allow more flexibility. Make sure you style them right so you don’t look like a substitute teacher.

When I think chino, I think of (the usually on-sale) J.Crew. Its 484 slim-fit stretch chino pant is not exactly light, but you will be fine in the warmer months; plus, these come in many colors, like navy, for under $100. And, right now, a few colors — including a lighter blue-gray, espresso brown, and dark “eucalyptus” green — are … on sale for just $23.

For about $100 more, you can get British brand Albam’s Ripstop pleated trousers, which are light and durable and garment-dyed, so they are extra soft. The pleat makes them a bit cooler, but they’re still appropriate for any occasion and a less-ubiquitous style than the J.Crew pair.

[Editor’s note: Albam lists all prices in British pounds, so the price shown is an approximate conversion in U.S. dollars.]

If you want a classic, well-priced khaki-colored pair, try Kotn. Made from Egyptian-cotton gabardine twill, these will be breathable enough on stressful work days and brisk weekend walks.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Ask Chris: What Are You Snacking On in Quarantine?