NEW YORK CITY – As a New York Times food writer and the newspaper’s Southern bureau chief, Kim Severson spends a lot of time driving on Interstates, and thus stopping at gas stations and convenience stores. Here’s her go-to, top 10 list of snacks, the New York Times reports.
The list starts at No. 9 because of a tie between Corn Nuts and Combos Cheddar Cheese Pretzels. “Corn Nuts are a crisp, reliable alternative to Fritos, which can get tiresome fast. Combos satisfy the part of you that has been thinking about pretzels for 120 miles but knows how one-note they can be,” she explained.
A yellow-green banana comes in at No. 8. “Sometimes you need a little fruit pick-me-up. Do not touch any banana that is starting to show too much ripeness,” she wrote.
No. 7 is any little pie. “If it’s on the counter next to the cash register, and especially one that shows signs of being homemade, grab it,” Severson advices. If none are available, a suitable substitute is orange peanut-butter crackers called “Nabs,” or a Little Debbie fancy cake.
Rolling in at No. 6 is Haribo Gummi Candy, which is “a lot of chew to the mile, without too much sugar,” she said. No. 5 is a candy too: Peanut M&Ms. “You get crunch, sweetness and ease of consumption here, and they can hang around on the console for long-term, intermittent snacking.”
Pork rinds come in at No. 4. “Weird local brands are best. If there are fresh cracklings, this item moves to the top of my list,” she said. Her pro tip is to add a packet of salsa to the bag before eating.
She prefers No. 3’s beef jerky from the case with a handwritten sign, but “otherwise, go for the most expensive brand, preferably with the heat of chile flakes.” Her recommendation? “Pair it with a bag of crunchy Cheetos and call it truck-stop charcuterie.”
Regional potato chips slide in at No. 2. “There is no better way to be a drive-by locavore than eating a bag of Golden Flake chips in Alabama, lard-fried Gibble’s in Pennsylvania or Better Mades in Michigan,” she wrote.
Her No. 1 choice? Mexican Coke, preferably poured over a large cup of pellet ice with a slice of lemon. “A road trip is one of rare times I drink soda,” she explained. “The cane sugar in a Mexican Coke is a treat, and the pellet ice gives you something refreshing to chew on.” And if Mexican Coke isn’t available? Her go-to is a fountain Coke or Dr Pepper.