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nosh, nosh, who’s there?

To understand that noshing is an art is to realize one of life’s great joys. Yes, a nosh is akin to a snack; to nosh is to nibble at a non-mealtime. But it is so much more – and to nosh like an expert, you need to understand some of the guidelines.

Most important, a nosh is not just any bite. It’s a taste of something particularly delicious at a time when you may not even realize that you’re hungry and craving that very thing. It’s a snack with attitude. With an extra helping of comfort. With a sense of humor. To wit:

A slice of pizza (or two) is lunch. A nibble of cold pizza the next morning before breakfast? A nosh.

Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings is a meal, obviously. But a half-sandwich of cold stuffing and cranberry sauce on a dinner roll with hot gravy for dipping? That’s a nosh. (Extra points if it’s at one in the morning while everyone else is asleep.)

You know that long, empty space between lunch and dinner? Sure, an apple is a healthy snack. But is it a nosh (aka does it feed your soul)? Not unless it’s baked into a strudel, served with a tall glass of cold milk, and has somebody’s great-aunt Shirley on the other end of it, urging it on you (even though you’re not all that hungry, you’re trying to watch your calories, and you never eat between meals). “So you’ll eat a bite or two to hold you over until dinner,” Shirley cajoles. You do, and you have to admit she was right – nothing quite compares to that fresh-baked strudel on a cold, wet, winter afternoon. Congratulations, you’ve just become a nosher.

Try this one. A mug of bone broth while curled up on the sofa enjoying a good read – nosh or not? Not so much (the broth, not the read). A nutritional break, at best. But a bowl of savory wonton soup with shreds of roasted pork and slivers of scallions floating around (plus those crispy noodles on top), with your book propped up against the rim? That’s a nosh.

A nosh has to have heart – it has to have some fun attached to it. Yup, hummus served with fresh carrot sticks is good for you and includes a bunch of food groups. But how much heart does it have? How much does eating it make you smile? Now compare that to a piece of carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting; it’s got multiple food groups too – carrots and nuts and dairy from the frosting – but it’s way more fun. Again, the nosh wins out.

I realize that at this time of year, when so many of us are resolving to lose a few extra pounds, to eat better, to get into shape, that noshing may be off the table (no pun intended there). But in my mind, it’s important to indulge occasionally (or frequently, wink, wink) in order to keep on an even keel. Never underestimate the feel-good power of the perfect nosh (homemade guacamole and chips, anyone?).

Look at it this way. Compare a nosh to a warm hug. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need. Even if you don’t realize it.

Aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana?

©2022 Claudia Grossman

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