So You Want to Snack Like Folu Akinkuotu?
Recipes for when your brain feels like "wilting meringue".
We focus a lot on meals here at Sifted, but in actuality both of us are serial snackers and motivated by constant cravings. Without Sifted we’d both happily spend our nights throwing the contents of our fridge in a bowl and scooping it up with tortilla chips. That’s why we love Folu Akinkuotu’s approach to cooking: between her weekly newsletter about all snacks obscure and accessible and her #humblebragdiet on Twitter/Instagram, her food is the epitome of intuitive eating. She seeks out eating experiences both nostalgic and new, familiar and foreign; food that evokes Proustian moments from defunct food truck salads to elementary school pan pizza. It also helps that it all looks and sounds pretty damn delicious. We’re frankly humbled she’s here to share of her staples to make when takeout incites immediate brain shutdown, plus we shared a few of our favorite Folu-inspired snacks.
FOLU AKINKUOTU’S DINNER PLANS
A lot of times, I don't even understand how I feed myself. I tend to brainstorm lots of meals in the notes app on my phone as ~projects~ but in the end, I'm ruled equally by a fear of food waste and laziness. Since I can't order takeout without my indecisiveness pulling me into a small emotional spiral, I've pulled together a few staples that I can make when my brain feels like a wilting meringue:
The Perfect Kale Salad: It is lowkey disorienting to realize that I've been a fan of this salad for almost an entire decade. I used to buy it from Mei Mei's food truck — RIP — all the time (it pairs perfectly with the light of my life, their scallion pancake poached egg and cheddar sandwich - the double awesome). At some point, I looked up the recipe and felt dumb because it is so easy to make. The true genius of this salad is that I can dress the greens in a simple rice vinegar dressing at the beginning of the week and they'll hold up to use in salads over multiple days paired with toasted garlic panko, feta, and an egg or whatever leftover roasted veg/protein I have in my fridge.
Or I'll sauté the leftover greens at the end of the week with no less than seven cloves of garlic to make fried rice:
Oleo Saccharum: I make myself a lot of fancy beverages at home to stave off the yearning caused by things I find for Unsnackable, but the cocktails are all variations on the 2:3/4 :3/4 ratio of base spirit:sour:sweet and the non-alcoholic drinks are just bougie sparkling lemonades or homemade sodas. I buy (too many) off the shelf syrups and concentrates and tinctures to recreate flavors that aren't easily accessible (like the Harders Hawaii Crackseed Plum and Melona syrups) but I've learned that using a dash of oleo syrup helps me make drinks that are less of a sugar bomb and more flavorful. All you need to do is muddle citrus zest, top it with sugar and let the citrus oils create a syrup. I added a bit of oleo to a melon syrup to make a Baja Blast-colored Japanese melon cream soda paired with a ground chicken burger.
King Arthur Pan Pizza: I like fancy pizza but my true ideal will always be recreating the sensory experience of eating a free Pizza Hut pan pizza earned through Book It. I make this recipe with bread flour (measured by weight) instead of AP because it makes it chewier, and cold ferment it in the fridge for at least 24 hours but sometimes up to 48 because it just gets fluffier and tangier. For my cheese, I'll set a ball of fresh mozzarella over a strainer in the fridge overnight and cover it (to make it less wet but still creamy), then rip it over the pizza and sprinkle whatever straggler shredded cheese is in my fridge on top. Toppings are a free for all, and the sauce isn't always necessary. This is shaved fennel, za’atar spiced carrot, merguez lamb sausage, olives and mozz/provolone.
Buttermilk Biscuits: I cannot count the number of times I have been stopped by the TSA because I dedicated more than half of my carry-on after a trip visiting my family in the South to replenishing my stockpile of White Lily Self Rising Flour. But it is the key to good biscuits, and good biscuits make life worthwhile. I use the Kitchenista's recipe, and occasionally riff by adding herbs or shredded cheese. They freeze incredibly well so I can make a big batch of dough, wrap them in foil and bake a single perfect biscuit when my spirit is wary. These have havarti and Penzey’s roasted garlic powder:
BSOTW (BEST SNACKS OF THE WEEK):
We’re taking a page from Folu’s newsletter, Unsnackable (check it out if you somehow haven’t already), and in lieu of our Best Bites of the Week, we’re disclosing our favorite snacks — of the week, and of life.
Court: Upon returning from a 3 hour car drive, 1 hour train ride, and 40 minutes on the subway, I threw down my weekender bag and headed straight for the fridge. In the freezer, I found a trusty bag of bite-size chicken dumplings from Trader Joes. After a quick pan-fry-and-steam I doused them in an improvised peanut sauce of PB, rice vinegar, chili crisp, and a little Mirin before sprinkling with sesame and scallions. 1000/10: will be snacking on again. I also spent my weekend snacking on Pepper Jack Cheez-Its (underwhelming) and leftover Halloween Reeses bats (underrated). However the best Unsnackable-esque snack I tried lately was Choco Mint Pocky, discovered in a Los Angeles 7-Eleven that taste exactly like the tetra-packed mint chocolate soy milk I drank as a kid. If you’ve been scarred by these (how many here have been personally victmized by banana-flavored snacks?) I urge you to give the Choco Mint a try.
Gab: Sure, I like chips, but I f*cking love those crunchy, nutty Raincoast Crisps and their chewy pockets of raisins, figs and dates. And just like every other person on the planet, I also love Oreos. Original, golden, mint, peanut butter, inside out.
This order is not a ranking — they’re all great and at peak deliciousness after a dunk in a shallow bath of (real) milk until they’re soggy enough to be scooped up with a spoon. I really like M&M’s too, especially when I’m walking home from a friend who doesn’t keep sweets around’s place, but only the mini ones and the crunchy kinds: pretzel, peanut, crispy. Yes, that order is a ranking. No, I have never tried the almond ones because I only have time for the chewy coconut-covered, chocolate dipped ones from Trader Joe’s.