What is the ideal afternoon snack?

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aerial view of a hand holding a paper plate of currywurst
Photo: Alexander Spatari (Getty Images)

There’s an eating window that exists between lunch and dinner that staff writer Lillian Stone likes to call afternoonsies: it’s more than a nibble, less than a meal, doesn’t necessarily involve tea, and is crucially important, no matter what you opt for. Well-chosen afternoonsies can determine the success of your entire day, especially at a time when we’re sitting at home very, very close to our food 24/7. Here’s what The Takeout staff prefers to snack on in the afternoons. What genius concoctions are we missing out on?

Cheap canned seafood and crackers

Actually, the crackers are optional. Currently, I’ve got a variety of sardines, mainly from Aldi (in mustard sauce, hot sauce, and tomato sauce), and a can of smoked oysters that are from Aldi too. I also have some canned smoked herring. My favorite cheap canned fish, however, is anything from from the nearest Polish market, like mackerel, sardines, and sprats, specifically the kind in tomato sauce. I have no idea why I love canned fish so much, but hey, at least the fish oil is good for me! Am I weird for liking it so much? My second pick would be cottage cheese with hot sauce on it. I have a feeling I’m being judged right now. —Dennis Lee, staff writer


Tortillas + just about anything else

In the middle of the afternoon when I’m flagging it feels like there’s no way I’ll make it to dinnertime without calling in reinforcements, I simply don’t have faith in the same snacks I turned to mid-morning to carry me through to lunchtime (apples, a spoonful of peanut butter). Instead, a bready carb is called for, and that’s when I reach for a flour tortilla, slather it in some hummus, dot with hot sauce, and tuck a pickle spear in there. I then roll it all up and eat it like the little afternoon savior burrito that it is. Like Dennis, I apologize for any off-putting honesty in the above description. —Marnie Shure, editor in chief


Tea and toast (kind of)

I have a really vicious sweet tooth, and it always starts poking at me around 2 or 3 p.m. That’s when I pop my kettle on and stir up a hot mug of caffeinated Constant Comment tea with a full tablespoon of sugar. (I’m 12!) In the morning I’m a coffee person, but my afternoon Constant Comment always makes me think of my grandma, who introduced me to the tea when I was a kid. It’s also got a really nice citrusy aroma to cut the bitter black tea flavor, which isn’t my favorite. I’ll usually have my tea with two or three graham crackers (I AM 12!!) and sometimes a little scoop of peanut butter. If I really want to party, I’ll dip the graham crackers in the hot tea, but you have to eat that bit immediately lest it fall into your tea and form a sediment most foul. —Lillian Stone, staff writer


Sugar in all its forms

When we were still in the office, in the Beforetimes, I was very responsible about keeping my snack drawer stocked with healthy-ish, energy-sustaining foods like nuts and granola bars and crackers and peanut butter. (And, okay, I was not above visiting the office candy table every now and again.) Since I’ve been working at home, I’ve fallen off the wagon. Now I eat free samples that candy companies send to me. It’s been a pretty steady flow since June: Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s Kisses, etc., etc., etc. I am deeply embarrassed by how much sugar I’ve consumed. My apartment looks like Claudia’s bedroom from The Baby-Sitters Club, except nothing is stealthily hidden. I really must stop. Oh, Lord, give me strength. —Aimee Levitt, associate editor