As someone who didn’t encounter a fresh, uncanned green bean until age 20, I am sensitive to the fact that everyone’s culinary journeys are different. I never like to presume which foods other people are familiar with, because geography, generational food trends, and individual palates vary wildly (not to mention cultural traditions, the relative accessibility of certain items, and the like). What I’m saying is, I’ll never balk at you if you tell me you’ve never eaten a Fluffernutter or sipped on tomato juice. Everyone’s different, and our differences mean there’s a hell of a lot more content to publish on a website devoted to food. All that said, I was shocked and shaken to find out that some of you—most of you!—didn’t grow up eating dry spoonfuls of Nesquik chocolate milk powder as a delicious snack.
I had no idea I was an outlier in this regard, and I spend more time than I’d like to admit mulling the ways in which I am potentially an outlier. A quick primer: Nesquik—or, prior to its 1999 rebranding, Nestle Quik—is an instant drink mix consisting primarily of sugar and cocoa powder, along with some emulsifiers, thickeners, and vitamins thrown in for a better overall chocolate milk experience. You simply stir a few tablespoons into a glass of milk, whereupon a small amount of the powder incorporates into the liquid and just as much of it sits on the surface in stubborn dry clumps, impervious to the vortex of your spoon.
Preparing chocolate milk with Nesquik is an infuriating exercise in futility, so as a kid I usually just cut to the chase and ate spoonfuls of the dry powder when I wanted a sweet treat. This was usually undertaken in furtive midafternoon trips to the kitchen pantry when I was confident no one was around. I didn’t really want to discuss my little Nesquik ritual with any family members who might question it. Still, despite this secrecy, I figured this was a secrecy we all shared, one that was commonplace in the average American child’s preadolescent experience. So I was shocked when my casual reference to “snacking on Nesquik” in a recent staff meeting brought the proceedings to a grinding halt.
None of my coworkers, it turns out, spent their childhoods making a beeline for the yellow tub in the back of the pantry, spoon in hand. It had seemingly never even occurred to them to crunch away on a dry mixture of sugar, cocoa powder, and soy lecithin for sustenance and recreation. I rushed to Twitter and polled the masses. At the time of this writing, the poll has received 135 votes:
Yes, I ate spoonfuls of dry Nesquik powder as a kid: 32.6% (44 votes)
No, I did not eat spoonfuls of dry Nesquik powder as a kid: 67.4% (91 votes)
I’m relieved to see I have some company here, but I am shocked and appalled that twice as many people claim never to have enjoyed this illicit snack as those who fondly recall the chocolatey grit between their teeth. The question now stands: did you do this as a child? Do you perhaps still do this as an adult? Does it hurt your teeth just to think about it?
I hope I’m in good company here, though my dentist probably doesn’t.