Remembering the days of Sticky TV and a bowl of Maggi noodles, Metro brings you the ten best Kiwi after-school snacks, ranked.
After-school snacking is a universal truth. It’s 3.30pm, you’ve flung your school bag straight across the living room, and suddenly you’re a wailing baby bird desperately crying out for some pre-masticated worms. Or two-minute noodles.
Every era of life can be tied in some respect to a beloved snack, bite or meal. Even if it was in retrospect absolutely disgusting, there’s no question that - a favourite snack is ebbed in your DNA.
The 3.30-5pm window from ages five to 18 was a precious, precious time. I think about it often and fondly. What I wouldn’t do to go back to watching C4 and slurping on some Maggi noodles.
In honour of that sacred window between getting home and eating dinner, Metro reached out to the wider public to validate our own childhood habits, expose the true weirdos amongst us all, and ascertain who the indisputable ruler of the after-school snack kingdom is.
Starting with the worst of all the so-called snacks, fruit: No one wants fruit, Mum.
Satisfaction level: minus 10/10
Canned spaghetti: Absolutely disgusting. I despise canned spaghetti, but it proves popular with Kiwi kiddies who grew up in the 2000s so here’s its entry. Objectively, it’s pretty bad. Especially those of you who would eat it cold, and on corn chips, or on toast. You can’t change my mind.
Satisfaction level: minus 2/10
Toast: A lot of people eat toast. A lot. Toast, in my opinion, is the vastly inferior little brother to toasties and is probably the least rebellious breakfast food in which to enjoy outside its prescribed time. Pancakes for dinner? Delightful. An omelette in the evening? Yes, please. Toast after school? Fine, if I have to.
Satisfaction level: 2/10
Cereal: There was a shockingly low amount of people who said cereal. American sitcoms have lied to me about what goes on in the middle-class family home. And when people did say cereal, it was Weetbix, which seems sad. Someone else said they’d eat it with ice cream and a dash of milk, which is less sad, but also unsustainable. One respondent said they’d leave old milky bowls around till they crusted. Gross. One thing it’s got going for it, though, is that cereal tastes better any time of the day which is not breakfast, so I’ve got to give it some love.
Satisfaction level: 3/10
Chips: Is anyone else having flashbacks to shoving an ungodly amount of Bluebird Salt and Vinegar chips down your throat and having a parent yell at you for ‘ruining your dinner’? And then when you went to change out of your school uniform, flakes of chips would shake out of your T-shirt, reminding you that, oh, you really did consume a whole family bag of Bluebird Salt and Vinegar chips?
There is something to be said about 1) being easily accessible 2) being never-ending and 3) having so many available flavours to choose from. If there was a Most Reliable for after-school snacks, chips take it hands down.
Satisfaction level: 4/10
Microwaveable pie: Genuine question – Is Big Ben the Marlboro Man’s cousin? What is it about rugged cowboys that get people willing to part their cash money for goods that are obviously not great for them? Even more genuine question – has anyone eaten a Big Ben pie and thought, “This is yum”? If anyone did, it’s a starving 7-year-old kid blowing on the top of a mince and cheese as they watch Sticky TV. Lucky them.
Satisfaction level: 5/10
Two-minute noodles: This was by far the most common response, and fair enough: Indo Mie mi goreng, when you’re hungry, is the tastiest thing you’ll ever eat. Maggi chicken noodles was my personal go-to favourite, one that faded through my adult years as my father drilled it into me that if I ate to too much of it, I’d go bald (anyone else? No? Ok).
Fancy kids jazzed it up with sweet chilli sauce, and the microwave-shy would just crush, shake the seasoning into the packet and hoover it up dry. One strange soul told Metro they mixed it with peanut butter, which is either a stroke of genius or a sign of madness.
There is something lacking about two-minute noodles, though. That je ne sais quois, if you will. That X-Factor. That thing which would make you feel giddy if you got to eat it.
Satisfaction level: 8/10
Specially home-cooked snack straight from the heart: Anyone who had a parent or guardian who would cook food specifically for consuming after school better give amazing Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/birthday presents now, because they did that. They did that. One friend told me she would come home to hot, moreish pikelets fresh from the pan, which is a pure act of love. Another person said they’d enjoyed eating chop suey (sapasui) and taro. Full disclosure, my mum would simmer up a curry or chicken stir-fry just to appease her demanding child. Hey, Mum, you rule!
Satisfaction level: 10/10 (-2 points for the delayed guilt you feel about this in your adult years)
Leftovers from dinner: Shout-out to the one other person in our very non-scientific research that said rice – I feel you, I am you, we are one. I would never eat lunch at school and would come home to a full plate of rice and leftover food. My absolute favourite leftover food was chicken curry, which I would sometimes mop up with a side of roti canai (flaky flatbread), because curry always tastes better the day after. My fellow rice enthusiast ate it with eggs or dilis (small, salty anchovies), which I also dig. Asian households are the bestest.
Satisfaction level: 11/10
Toasties: Toasties are the holy grail of after-school snacks and a loving tribute to the joys of culinary experimentation. It’s fact that every chef in the world started out playing around with the inner fillings of a glorious toastie. It’s bread made beautiful and golden, and the wonderful thing is just cheese will suffice, who cares if it’s processed? Some spread Marmite, or Vegemite, or ham, but I could write a whole ode to the wonders of the humble cheese toastie, haphazardly assembled and grilled in a sandwich press, cheese sizzling out onto the hot plate. Oh, a true national treasure.
(Important to note everything I said is completely null if you put canned spaghetti in your toastie. NO CANNED SPAGHETTI IN TOASTIES!)
Satisfaction level: 12/10
Boxes of Sunmaid raisins: Poor soul.
Cold milk and milo: Poorer soul.
10tsp of milo+1tsp of milk: Now we're talking.