What happens in Snack Club never stays in Snack Club

“How many of us have joined a book club and realized reading the book is sort of like the homework we don’t want to do? Somehow, when the book isn’t one we chose ourselves and there is a deadline attached to it, it is no longer enjoyable. Not for everyone, of course, just for lazy people like me who never were good at homework.”

Amy Fenster Brown, Special to the Jewish Light

My favorite part of planning lunch with friends is when no one wants to choose the restaurant. Everyone has places they love to dine and places they prefer not to dine. We don’t want to ruffle feathers, we just want to have a fun time with friends over an overpriced bowl of lettuce with chicken and avocado, because it’s the good fat, and light dressing on the side. You don’t want to bug everyone with your diet of the month restrictions.

So we play the adorable game of polite indecision in a noble attempt to be accommodating in a text thread just like this:

Where do u want 2 go?

Anywhere.

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Name some places.

I truly don’t care. I’ll go anywhere. You guys decide.

I’m going for the company, not the food.

OK, how about Wrap It Up?

I hate Wrap It Up. Let’s go to Salad Tossers.

OK.

OK.

OK.

We have all been guilty of buying a couple of things at the grocery “to have in the house” in case a friend comes over or someone else in your family needs a cookie. Coincidentally, you choose the same cookies you’ve been craving for the weeks you’ve been “good” on that silly no-sugar pledge you made with your Mah Jongg group.

“I’ll get those Oreos for the family, just to have in the house.”

A few days later, the Oreos are gone. The kids ask whether there are any more because they never had any. Because you are the house. 

Can’t relate to the cookie scenario? You’re more of a savory closet eater, you say? Perhaps you grab a boxed mac and cheese to have a quick something on hand if someone wants it. And then you cook it yourself and eat it right out of the pot because who needs to dirty a dish. This is self-care because you didn’t make extra work by using a pesky bowl.

I’d be rich if I had a nickel for every time a cake was cut and a guest said, “Make mine smaller, I can’t eat such a big piece.”

Yes, you can. You know you can. You shouldn’t, none of us should, and choosing to have a tiny bit is the perfect healthy solution. But why do people have to make such a big show of it?  You eat the bigger slice at home when no one is around but, in public, it’s somehow better to loudly announce that you can only eat the thinnest shaved sliver of a crumb or you will burst.

Next time you’re at an event where they slice a cake do this: When the first piece is being plated, yell, “That’s the piece I want!” referring to the rest of the cake. You’ll get a big laugh.  And probably a big slice.

How many of us have joined a book club and realized reading the book is sort of like the homework we don’t want to do? Somehow, when the book isn’t one we chose ourselves and there is a deadline attached to it, it is no longer enjoyable. Not for everyone, of course, just for lazy people like me who never were good at homework.

Or maybe I’ve only been in dysfunctional book clubs. There are either too many people or too few; too many opinions about the book or not enough; and someone having a stage-whispered side conversation during the discussion, which is distracting and is also usually me.

Book club isn’t really about the book anyway. Book club is just about being with your friends and drinking wine and eating snacks, which always includes some bogus veggie tray so everyone can act like they only eat healthy and three women end up splitting a mini-cupcake. Book club is really just about the snacks. Snack club.

Monthly columnist Amy Fenster Brown is married to Jeff and has two teenage sons, Davis and Leo. She volunteers for several Jewish not-for-profit groups. Fenster Brown is an Emmy Award-winning TV news writer and counts time with family and friends, talking and eating peanut butter among her hobbies.

If I ever join book club again, it will be never. And if never ever comes, my book club is going to be a Dirty Diary and Candy Club where participants bring their old journals and candy. We make two big piles — one of diaries and one of candy — and then we each grab a diary and candy, read and eat, and make our book discussion a faux empathetic study about all the things the writer did wrong in their life.

The candy gives us something to do when it’s not our turn to present our findings.

To be kind, we don’t reveal the author of each journal while at Dirty Diary and Candy Club. We just call other members later to “out” the writers, talk about them behind their back and hard-core mock their life stories. It’s like a passive-aggressive modified Fight Club. It’s the American way.

Bonus tip: Have these conversations only over the phone. You don’t need any evidence in writing, like the time my cousin kept asking whether her 3-year-old could play with my 1-year-old, which clearly meant she was pregnant and wanted her kid to get used to having a baby around. I emailed my husband saying, “I’m telling you, she’s pregnant,” but I accidentally emailed her! I played it off as a joke. Three weeks later she announced she was pregnant.

Heaven knows that if anyone got a glimpse at my old diaries, they would have plenty to judge — dumb things I did, dumb things I said, a plot that goes nowhere and far too many dumb things in general.

I think I want to start a Show Club where we just talk about “Ted Lasso” and the girls from “The Facts of Life.” And I’m not going to serve carrots and hummus.

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