State Snack Attack: N.Y. Senate's Yogurt Battle Yields Yuks
Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Does your state have an " official state snack?" Utah has Jell-O. (The state's residents consume more of it per capita than any other state in the U.S., The Wire notes.) In South Carolina, it's boiled peanuts, a "truly Southern delicacy." In Texas, tortilla chips and salsa have been so honored for their popularity and proud tradition. Illinois adopted popcorn as its official snack in 2003.
Now New York is taking steps toward designating its own official state snack: yogurt. On Tuesday, members of the New York State Senate engaged in a spirited, comically protracted debate over the spoon-able fermented dairy product's worthiness to wear the "state stack" mantle.
Given that yogurt production is big business in upstate New York and that the state is now, as the bill notes, "the number one processor of yogurt in the country," you might expect it have slid smoothly through the Senate. In fact, after the bill, initiated by a class of fourth-graders (awww), was introduced for a vote by its sponsor, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, things got a little messy.
Had Sen. Ranzenhofer, a Republican, mused upon the merits of other snackable candidates? Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, wanted to know. "Did you consider, say, the potato chip as the potential state snack?" Sen. Rivera inquired from the Senate floor. "Did the sponsor consider raisins as a potential official state snack? Perhaps pretzels? What if the pretzel was dipped in yogurt? Cheesecake?"
Sen. Ranzenhofer had not.
Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat, also had reservations. "One of my possible concerns with supporting yogurt is the issue of lactose intolerance," she said.
There's always soy yogurt, Sen. Ranzenhofer noted.
Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, a Democrat, took a strong stand on behalf of the "carrot cookie," noting that some carrot cookies were "out of this world."
The state snack bill ultimately passed, 52 to 8, freeing it up for due consideration by the New York State Assembly.
Naturally, late-night comedians have been getting in their digs about the debate. In a Daily Show segment that aired on Thursday night under the banner " Yogurt Gabba Gabba," Jon Stewart offered a reminder for the Assembly members who will now take up the bill: "As far as many New Yorkers are concerned our state snack is who gives a (bleep), a perfect companion to our state flower who the (bleep) cares, and our state bird, which is the kind you flip," he quipped. Boom!
What do you think your state's official snack should be? Post your ideas in the comments section.