rice cake

When I was growing up in the 70's, rice cakes were the terrain of leftover hippies. I was the only kid who brought them to class as others snacked on Wagon Wheels and Twinkies. Today the rice cake has finally achieved status as food for the masses. You may have grown to resent them. I did for many years, but I suggest you take a second look at these Styrofoam discs, as they're a lot more than just emergency rations. 

First, let's take a look at the positive personality traits of our friend the rice cake:
  • they're their own plate
  • they're cheap
  • they keep well, providing you seal the bag tight
  • they don't require refrigeration
  • they don't grow mold
  • they have no flavour to compete with their toppings
  • they're lightweight
  • they protect your breakables when used for packing
  • Always where you left them (no one steals rice cakes)

The first consideration when working with what are essentially edible plates is to consider whether or not you want to assemble them well in advance, or put them together just before eating them. If, for example, you were carrying them in your bag to take with you on a day of errands, I'd avoid anything wet, as they go mushy within an hour of topping. With this in mind, I've split up some topping options based on convenience:

Rice cake toppings to enjoy right away:
  • tomato & pesto (you'll see a lot of that around here)
  • avocado with salt & pepper
  • baba ghannouj
  • hummus
  • sliced or mashed banana
  • melted cheese (nuked or broiled carefully!)
Rice cake toppings to enjoy within a couple of hours:
  • cream cheese (add herbs or spices for variety)
  • jams, jellies, marmalade (great with the cream cheese)
  • chocolate hazelnut spread (yes, this is junk;)
  • peanut butter and bananas
The go all day rice cake:
  • peanut butter
  • nut butters - cashew, sunflower, almond....
I stack the ones in the last two lists. The stickiness holds them together and up to four will fit into one sandwich bag. Voila - you have lightweight snack to throw in your bag that weighs nothing (and is more durable than a banana).

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