Dad kept a fire extinguisher nearby whenever my step-mom, Tippy prepared her special potstickers. If you watched Tippy’s method, you’d understand why. She mixed a couple of handfuls of finely shredded cabbage, another handful of finely shredded protein such as fish or chicken, then combined the ingredients with her special sauce (teriyaki sauce, fish sauce, and spices) into a thick paste. She placed a tablespoon of the paste onto squares of raw thin pastry (sometimes phyllo dough when she was busy); then folded and press-sealed each potsticker. These were gently lowered into boiling vegetable oil until the pieces were golden brown.
It was the boiling oil that always worried dad and anyone who watched the process. Tippy refused to use a specialized deep fryer. Instead, the oil was poured into a standard saucepan and heated on the highest setting of her electric range. Somehow, Tippy was able to keep the oil just below its flashpoint without the use of a cooking thermometer. When the potstickers had completed frying, they were served with a sweet-sour sauce for dipping.
Tippy prepared her potstickers for special occasions like birthdays or when favorite visitors stayed at my parents’ home. This indescribably delicious snack never failed to impress those who were privileged to eat it.
I recalled the lovely potstickers yesterday when I heated up some prefabricated supermarket potstickers. They were OK, but lacked the fresh, homemade quality and size of Tippy’s potstickers. The loving care and presentation were absent from the commercially prepared snack.
These days, if I want a fairly decent snack, I cut up some fruit like an apple or some apricots and top the pieces with something creamy and spicy. I serve it on a small plate. I’m usually motivated to prepare this when a friend is visiting in mid-morning or afternoon. This is much nicer than a bag of chips with dips. The fruit plate also goes well with coffee or tea.
When I’m home alone, I tend to graze rather than prepare special snacks. This is to help prevent low blood sugar or sugar spikes. I alternate between bite-size crackers and mixed nuts because I can no longer safely eat ice cream or sweets. I always keep a jumbo size can of mixed nuts on hand in the kitchen to serve in a small desert bowl for munching.
One of my favorite snacks is a sandwich prepared with healthy bread spread with organic chunky peanut butter. Sometimes a slice of cheese is used with the peanut butter for variety. Another specialty utilizes a leftover, whole grain waffle square as the foundation for peanut butter or sunflower butter. There is no need for a plate, because these are hand-held snacks. They’re ideal as a break during a fast-paced, on the go afternoon.
Perhaps once a week I’ll eat a bowl of cereal (unsweetened) with milk as a filling snack. Most of my friends admit to this guilty pleasure, too. I believe it’s OK to eat cereal in the middle of the day.
From time to time, I’ll eat different snacks like Greek yoghurt or a cup of soup or something else that’s substantial. It’s good to try small amounts of various foods to keep snack-time interesting. I try to eat protein-packed, low carb food instead of standard snack items. When these are eaten, I don’t feel the need to graze on nuts and crackers.
Meantime, I dearly miss special occasions when Tippy’s hazardous potstickers were served. I can only eat them now in my memories.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes founder and CEO of “RightRice Foods”, Keith Belling. “I’m a snacker, but also health-conscious. I thought there had to be an alternative to what was out there. But it had to taste good–if it doesn’t taste good, it isn’t a snack.”