Avoiding death by starvation at the keyboard…

When it comes to blogging, there’s nothing quite as important as…food.

Oh, it certainly helps if a blogger knows what he or she is talking about. Although I’ll grant you there are an awful lot of blogs out there—including some with a thousand times the traffic of historyonthefox—written by folks who don’t seem to have a clue about what they’re famous for writing about.

But if I’ve found one blogging constant, it’s food. You’ve got to have fuel for that little furnace that lurks inside all of us so that all those brilliant insights come tumbling out as our fingers fly across the keyboard.

But eating while blogging is fraught. It’s fraught with danger for the poor keyboard from water or Diet Coke damage. It’s fraught with danger that a mispositioned sticky bun will lead to undue anger when it falls, frosting side down, on the USB hub. It’s fraught with the chance the keys will be so encrusted with the yellow cheese-like chemicals with which Cheetos are covered that the “U” will disappear completely.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to keep an eye out for foods safe to consume while blogging, not to mention other activities that require sitting at and using a computer keyboard. And the beauty is, these hints even work perfectly well with typewriters!

The TRS-80 100 replaced electric typewriters in newsrooms all over the nation in the early 1980s. But their keyboards were, if anything even more susceptible to being gummed up by Hawaiian Punch than an electric Royal typewriter.

The TRS-80 100 replaced electric typewriters in newsrooms all over the nation in the early 1980s. But their keyboards were, if anything even more susceptible to being gummed up by Hawaiian Punch than an electric Royal typewriter.

You see, I started collecting keyboard-safe foods while I was in the newspaper biz. Those late election nights required food that didn’t interfere with writing as we pounded on our electric SCM and Royal typewriters. Gradually, those were replaced with TRS-80 100s and then TRS-80 200s before we entered the Macintosh age, but eating while keyboarding was still a necessity at certain times of the year, not to mention occasionally at lunch.

Unfortunately, most homemade foods simply don’t work. Cookies are okay, depending, but cake’s a mess, and homemade sandwiches simply are not sufficiently homogenized. Pieces fall out of them and invariably end up in bad places, computerwise.

So care and good planning is required during the entire 24 hour blogging day.

Starting out early in the morning, there’s nothing like a donut and coffee while writing. In fact, come to think of it, there’s nothing like a donut and coffee at any time of the day or night. But you’ve got to watch what kind of donut. I tried them all to find out—yes, it was a long, slow slog, but someone had to do it, if for no other reason than the greater good of mankind.

So saying, sorry, Krispy-Kreme. Glazed donuts don’t work at all. Too sticky. And that goes for every other kind of raised donut-like treat including long johns, fried cinnamon rolls, bismarks, Boston crèmes, and even raised Dunkin’ Donut Munchkins. Believe me on this; I really did try them all.

Even frosted or sugared cake donuts are a bad bet.

The very best? Plain cake donuts and plain cake donut holes. Granted, you have to forgo frosting and sprinkles, but sprinkles can be (and this is the voice of experience talking) death to keyboards.

But it’s hard to find plain cake donuts at the mini-mart. About the only way you can get them is three in a box of nine with powered sugar and chocolate-covered thrown in for good measure. And what are you supposed to do with those?

The frosting-like coating on donut sticks is impervious to crumbling off, making these little honeys the favorite of donut-loving bloggers everywhere.

The frosting-like coating on donut sticks is impervious to crumbling off, making these little honeys the favorite of donut-loving bloggers everywhere.

So if the mini-mart is you only option, look for donut sticks, which are little glazed oblong cake donut-like things. Now you’re probably thinking, hey, you just said a couple paragraphs ago to abjure frosting. The beauty of donut sticks, you see, is that modern technology makes their frosting stick like glue; it just won’t come off. And it’s not sticky in the least; it’s dry as a bone, in fact. Further, you can buy a bunch of the things at once and stick them in your desk drawer to eat at your leisure, even over several months, because—and here’s the real genius behind the things—they’re already stale when you buy them!

The only other kind of mini-mart packaged donut I’ve found that works even moderately well are mini donuts completely covered with “chocolate.” The “chocolate” covering on them is more like candle wax than actual chocolate, which is a good thing because it doesn’t fall off, either. You can also pop a whole one in your mouth that you can chew at your leisure while typing. And unless you hold it tightly in your hand, the “chocolate” coating won’t melt onto your fingers. These also are usually stale right out of the package, so they’ve got a long drawer life, although wait too long and the donut component of the thing gets sort of crunchy, which has a charm all its own.

However, man cannot live by donuts alone. Really, you can’t. You need protein and salt, too. Cashews are a good choice because they include three major food groups: Oil, salt, and texture. I recommend the whole, store-brand cashews, with sea salt at Walgreens. They’re cheap and they taste pretty good, too. They’re not too greasy, and they aren’t covered with ersatz dairy products, which is why they’re better than Cheetos.

For another idea if you’re craving salt, try Pringles or other similar potato-like baked oval-shaped snack foods. These have the advantage of containing mummified potatoes, so you can swear to your spouse that, yes, you have had some vegetables during the day.

But occasionally, you just have to have meat, at least you do if you’re a former farm kid like me. Meat is a problem at the computer. It’s impossible to have a Chicago-style hot dog, for instance, because that, like a Whopper, takes two hands. Even White Castle sliders shed little bits of onion, even if you get sliders with cheese in an attempt to amalgamate the thing into a non-shedding whole. Which I did.

McDonald's cheeseburger-like menu offering is the bloggers favorite since it can be eaten with one hand and is virtually guaranteed not to shed so much as a sliver of onion.

McDonald’s cheeseburger-like menu offering is the bloggers favorite since it can be eaten with one hand and is virtually guaranteed not to shed so much as a sliver of onion.

No, the perfect meat-like sandwich to eat at the keyboard is the McDonald’s cheeseburger. With their cheeseburger, McDonalds has perfected manufacturing a unibody sandwich, a cheeseburger-like food that seems to be in a class all its own. A blogger can eat one with one hand while mousing or typing with the other and NOTHING FALLS OUT OF IT! It’s truly a remarkable achievement of food technology, without which I have no doubt journalists (and now bloggers) would frequently, and tragically, be found deceased and desiccated at their keyboards.

Some (that would include long-suffering corporate IT types who have to scrape frosting off the bottom of laser mice and empty Hawaiian Punch out of keyboards) say food and computers don’t mix. But those of us who spend far too many hours of our life working with the things know that may true. but is also beside the point.

Person’s got to eat, after all.

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2 Comments

Filed under Food, Nostalgia, Semi-Current Events

2 responses to “Avoiding death by starvation at the keyboard…

  1. Blogging sure makes on miss out on all the goodies. It’s despicable really that we have to forgo so many things just to blog. 😉

  2. Bloggers are a tough breed, though, and if it means forgoing sprinkles on a morning donut, then so be it. Bring it on!

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