As someone who grew up in Harlem in the 90s, a very large part of my life is defined by the following:
1. Dipset Mixtapes
2. Sneaking top quality snacks from the bodega into a Magic Johnson movie theater, because fuck those inflated ass prices.
3. That horrible time when everyone’s auntie was reading their favorite Zane novel on the train
On any other occasion, I’d be glad to ruminate on numbers 1 and 3*, but this week I’d like to dedicate a few hundred words to the wonder of the hood snack.
Bodega snacks are the engine that keep the tiny hoodrat within the deep corners of my tattered soul alive and kicking. No matter how far I’ve come, I am never above a proper meal that can be cobbled from the change in the bottom of my purse. In fact, as I write this, I’m eating some Hot Cheetos for peak authenticity.
That said, some folks are absolute trash at their bodega snack selection. Just the other day, I was at my local corner store and saw someone go in and pick up some SunChips! SunChips my dude?? My sensibilities are still insulted by that dream deferred. I almost pulled that man aside and recited the lyrics to the Momma Dee gospel classic, “I Deserve.”
I was distraught. Verklempt even. But as a true woman of the people, I chose to suffer for my art, and turn it into the teachable moment that the masses so clearly need. I might even plan on disseminating this around light posts on my neighborhood as a PSA for my soon-to-be established non-profit, P.A.S.S. (People Against Shitty Snacks).
Ladies and Gentlemen, the next time you walk into the corner store, these are the only items you should be considering.**
Girl takes the M100 bus home from middle school every day. One day, the cute guy from her afterschool program sees her on the bus and makes a move to go and talk to her. Girl promptly runs away from Guy and gets off at the next (wrong) stop, cello case in tow, because she had stopped to pick up some Funyuns before getting on the bus, her breath was FLAMING, and who wants to deal with the cute guy telling everyone that you had hot Funyun breath? I mean, Girl is already carrying a cello. Girl regrets nothing, because Funyuns are fucking delicious. This may or may not be based on a true story.
Anyone who gets Cheetos other than Hot Flaming Cheetos is someone who won’t tell you they’re married because “you never asked.” Don’t trust inferior Cheeto consumers.
3. Sunflower Seeds
There are two types of people in the world: the ones who eat sunflower seed shells and the ones that don’t. I’m pretty sure Joe Budden eats the shells.
4. Honey Buns
I don’t care what anyone says, honey buns are the superior bodega dessert snack. Get the other Little Debbie snacks and Twinkles the hell out of here. I’d pick a honey bun over a Krispy Kreme Donut. I’d pick a honey bun over your mom’s flan. Not my mom’s flan though, because it’s delicious.
Honorable Mentions: Slim Jims (for the real nigga who likes jerky more than they respect their bowels), Hot Fries
Dishonorable Mentions: Salt and Vinegar Chips. Anyone who states that salt and vinegar chips are anything other than an abomination is more than likely the Feds and you should stop talking to them immediately for fear of incriminating yourself.
1. Arizona Iced Tea
Much like TI-83s, Prescription Glasses and Abortions, the price of an Arizona Iced Tea has somehow manage to remain resistant to price inflation in the past twentysomething years. That high fructose corn syrup laden “tea” might bring you closer and closer to diabetes, but it always wins for 1) remaining 99 cents well into the 21st century, 2) fitting perfectly into hoodie pockets for prime movie theater culinary trespassing endeavors. Green Tea or Half & Half are the only respectable flavors. Debate this with your favorite IG Honey who captions her pics with “cool, calm, and collective.”
2. Tropical Fantasy
I’m pretty sure this drink is composed of a few carcinogens – but what’s a little risk to keep life interesting? I’m sure at least 10% of the male population reading this has their laptop perched gingerly atop their nuts & berries, forcing their fertility rates to fight the good fight against an overheated battery. Ask yourself, is a lengthy life expectancy worth disabusing yourself of the wonder that is Kola Champagne? If the answer is yes, then I’m here to tell you that the reason that the girl isn’t answering your DMs is that you’re boring. Do better.
This is only reserved for when you’re feeling a little classy. Maybe you really rocked the hell out of your pencil skirt. Or you got a new match on Tinder. Or Lil B publicly blessed the rest of your year. Whatever the reason, treat yoself to some Lotta Colada, boo. You deserve to live it up!
Honorable Mentions: Capri Sun. I know someone that one time chased shots of Aristocrat Gin with Capri Sun once. That person is only able to bring these words to your screen today by the grace of the Lord Almighty.
Dishonorable Mentions: Sunny D, Quarter Waters. In case you were ever considering it, trying to make mimosas with Sunny Delight is a DISASTROUS idea. Chug that champagne straight and save yourself the struggle. Also, potentially consider your relationship with alcohol as you’re nearing 30 and still exploring inane ways to consume alcohol.
Go forth and prosper, my friends.
*Please stay tuned for the following posts: “An Unofficial Matrix of the Best Dipset Skits, Rated by Misogyny and Absurdity” and “Shamira Selects an Arbitrary Passage from a Zane Novel and Uses her Overpriced Liberal Arts Education to Engage in Some Critical Literary Analysis”
**I didn’t consider your Cheerwines or your Tahitian Treats or whatever other obscure items you can only find in Gullah Gullah Island, South Carolina, because I am a New Yorker, and am consequently not required to consider anything other than the five boroughs as has been determined by the New York Supreme Courts.