By now, we’ve probably all been there — sitting at our carved-up childhood desk, cradling a cup of coffee while a professor rattles off facts that couldn’t possibly justify being up at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. through a laptop screen.
Maybe this experience is unique only to me, but one thing that has undoubtedly moved through the student population since the University’s closing is the occasional pang of hunger felt in the middle of a Zoom lecture. Having classes moved online presents a few benefits like working from the comfort of your bed. However, there is one large drawback — having a laptop camera and microphone so near your face which makes your presence much more noticeable.
One skill that I have come to master is the strategic muting of my microphone while I take a sip of water or sneeze into a tissue as allergy season goes into full swing. However, some classes require avid participation, and muting isn't an option. Without the ability to quiet the entire snacking process, it has proven to have become infinitely more difficult since coming home. We have gone from sneaking bites in the balcony of McLeod to having our every chew broadcasted to the world.
But no more! Through extensive research and exhaustive crowdsourcing, I have compiled a list of snacks that will surely minimize chewing volume and still satisfy those mid-lecture cravings. Hopefully the snacks below will help ease some of your more misophonic symptoms — I’m looking at you, the guy who eats Raisin Bran Crunch next to their laptop microphone every morning.
To offer a disclaimer, these snacks aren’t something that requires a special trip to the grocers. Since they’re usually available for purchase and easily identifiable, most of the grocery delivery services will be able to deliver them right to your door.
With the warmer months of the year very steadily approaching, peak strawberry season comes right along with it. A bite into a well ripened berry can simulate a warm, stress-free summer day. So as long as your local grocery store keeps stocked with them, I would recommend picking up some strawberries.
Arguably a top-tier fruit, strawberries provide the body with a quick blast of vitamins and antioxidants to keep you going throughout the day. These little parcels of nutrients are the original once-a-day vitamins and a great way to boost your immune system. Strawberries are perfect for mid-lecture snacks because they are — relatively — bite-sized, so that you’ll never be caught with a full mouth of food. They’re also soft enough to chew without making enough noise to wake a bear.
As yummy as these candies of nature are, there are a couple downsides to them that could steer you away. When you choose to eat a strawberry, you always run the risk of getting one of those pesky little seeds stuck in your teeth. While not a big deal at all, picking them out of your teeth potentially sabotages the subtleness you’re trying to achieve in eating them, as well as risking a smile full of seeds. Additionally, the juices of an especially ripe strawberry have been known to stain, so if you’re working on the scratch paper for an exam, be careful not to accidentally drip.
A weird choice, I know, but olives are a severely underrated snack food. Because olives are commonly canned or jarred, they are available at nearly every time of the year. Olives are a good option for when a salty craving hits, and even if you hate them, summer comes with pasta salads and olives, so might as well develop a taste for them now.
No matter what size you have, all olives are easily concealable in the palm of a hand. A motion up to yawn or to itch the side of your face can just as easily double as a stealthily conducted snack deposit that no one will see over the camera. Additionally, the vitamins and oils found in olives help improve circulation and bone health. All the hours spent doing work in front of a computer can be bad for circulation, so olives can help ease the strain.
Olives are salty. That’s just a fact, and unfortunately, with that salt comes a need to drink copious amounts of water. And while drinking tons of water to combat salt is not exactly a con, the body’s way of processing that salt may not be the best way to spend that time during lecture.
Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles
Since coming home, my parents have been popping into my room periodically through the day, and when my dad heard I was writing this article, he insisted that it wasn’t complete without these. So Dad, this one’s for you. Lindt Truffles truly are the most versatile and well received chocolate options on the market today, and I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t like any of their many truffle flavors.
Contrary to other popular chocolate brands — like Hershey’s — Lindt makes its chocolate super rich and smooth so that when you bite into the shell there is almost no sound. Additionally, the chocolate on the inside is smooth enough to literally melt in your mouth, so no further chewing is required. The combination of soft shell and softer interior creates an ultimate soundproof experience that not even the most vigilant of professors will notice. Even better, you can get a bag of them and say they’re “for the family” and score some brownie points with your parents.
Lindt Truffles do have some downsides, however. Given that they are a chocolate product, consuming them throughout the day might not be the best idea. With all the gyms closed and the streets overly crowded with people getting their state-sanctioned exercise, snacking on truffles might not be the best way to beat that Freshman 15.
I concede that using the mute button allows you to eat anything desired, but these three snacks offer smaller, bite-sized options that won’t take minutes to chew. And for classes where the professor has a bird’s eye for any students muting themselves, why risk it? After all, the last thing anyone wants is to answer a question in your foreign language class with a mouthful of scrambled eggs. Getting the pronunciation right is hard enough with an empty mouth.