?Being a nerd requires discipline. Indeed, the level of devotion we have towards our various enthusiasms is arguably what defines Nerdhood. And anything not directly involved with said enthusiasms tends to fall by the wayside — including nutrition.
Now, this is not to suggest that we nerds don’t enjoy a night at a gourmet restaurant or a nice home-cooked meal as much as the next person. But so much time, money, and effort goes toward nerdy fandoms and hobbies that we’ve become notorious for our reliance on cheap, quick, easily prepared, and convenient meals. Essentially, anything that takes us away from our computers, TVs, novels, comics, and games for the least amount of time — and leaves us with the most money in our pockets to fuel our obsessions is highly regarded. A bag of popcorn by the computer, a bowl of chips on the gaming table (role-players all know a character sheet isn’t a character sheet until it is defaced by numerous food stains). As well as the value placed various sweets to fuel late night chat sessions or 24-hour TV marathons.
Thus Topless Robot is pleased to present the totally unofficial Geek Diet — 10 foods which qualify as bona fide Nerd Chow.
Oh, this is also a good reference for any mundanes among our readership who have nerds in their lives, but don’t know what to feed them. These items are sure to provide all the sustenance a growing nerd needs, and keep his coat shiny, too.
Nerds devour a staggering amount of snack chips as a matter of course, so it was difficult to settle on one variety for inclusion here. We decided on Pringles because they’re tasty, inexpensive, come in every flavor imaginable (we recommend Bacon Ranch — two tastes that always increase the awesomeness of any edible), and won’t leave your keyboard, controllers, or unbagged comics coated in grease like regular chips!
9) Easy Cheese and Ritz Crackers
?Admit it, at one time or another we’ve all opened wide for a mouthful of pressurized cheesy goodness delivered via this magnificent invention. And naturally, no salute to Easy Cheese would be complete without a nod to its life-partner: The humble Ritz cracker. Perfect for fueling late night MMORPG binges or filming drunken YouTube vids where one challenges fellow nerds to finish an entire can in two minutes.
Now we get into more substantial cuisine. Most forms of canned pasta are popular among the nerd community — but Spaghetti-Os are notable for their strong nostalgia factor for the spawn of the 1980s. Buy the ones with meatballs or sliced franks for the illusion of protein — dump in a crap-ton of parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a reasonably filling meal. While they might not be served at nerd events, they’re vitally important to nerds because a week’s worth of them costs around $25, which allows you to devote what would normally be precious food money on important things like games, toys, RPG supplements, etc. We’d also like to add: Their signature round “Ravioli-Os” beat the piss out of anything Chef Boyardee makes.
Ah, the noble Twinkie! We don’t know what they’re made of — we don’t want to know.
Fact is, they are the food of the Nerd Gods, as are the rest of their Hostess brethren (except Sno-Balls — nobody seems to like them).
Bonus Geek Cred for the vital role these Golden Goodies played in the recent film Zombieland.
6) Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls (tie)
?Cooking? Who has time to cook something when there’s nerdery to be committed? Both Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls (the latter being the official foodstuff of murderous film critics such as Mr. Plinkett) can be thrown in the oven, the timer set, and then ignored until the bell rings and they’re ready. They both contain meat, cheese bread and tomato sauce, which is as close to a well-balanced meal as most of us ever get. Plus, since they’re meant to be handled, they don’t requires dishes, napkins or utensils, again minimizing eating time and maximizing nerdery.
A hearty “Konnichi-wa” to our numerous Japanophile readers! You didn’t think we could possibly leave these out, did you? For the benefit of the uninitiated, Pocky are sticks of a cookie-like substance dipped in chocolate, strawberry cream, and other flavors. They’re pretty much the Japanese version of cookies, which makes them nerdier, which has led them to become popular enough that most large supermarkets carry them, usually in the “Ethnic Foods” aisle.
They go great with a bottle of that weird-ass Japanese soda with the ball in the neck (a.k.a. Ramune).
4) Hot Pockets
The gold standard of culinary convenience. Hot Pockets are fast eclipsing TV dinners as the fare of choice for those whose food preparation skills are somewhat remedial. Wondering why Hot Pockets are ranked ahead of Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls? Because Hot Pockets can be made in the microwave. Yes, Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls can be nuked too, but they taste horrible unless you put them in the oven. But Hot Pockets? Hot Pockets don’t taste any better in the oven — and they don’t taste any worse in the microwave. Speed. Convenience. Apathy. Truly, the nerd’s most trustworthy non-ready-to-eat foodstuff.
Even for nerds, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no matter what time you happen to wake up and call “morning.”
Thus, the mighty Pop-Tart! These obviously unhealthy, fruit-filled slabs of edible sawdust have been a nerd staple since the late ’60s, and, although they’re ostensibly meant to be toasted, can be eaten cold, or “raw.”
Lately the folks at Kellogg’s responsible for Pop-Tart flavor design have gotten ahold of some bad acid, and have been churning out some truly bizarre varieties, most of which no longer even pretend to be healthy breakfast foods, such as Cookie Dough, Vanilla Milkshake, and Hot Fudge Sundae. We however, are purists when it comes to our Tarts –blueberry, strawberry, or broiwn sugar cinnamon are fine with us, thank you very much! Though the chocolate fudge are superlative when dipped in milk, cookie style.
2) Doritos and Cheetos (tie)
?Yes, they make your hands a n orange mess. Yes, they get cheese powder over everything you’re nerding out with while eating them. Yes, having a shirt covered in Dorito and Cheeto dust is like the worst nerd stereotype there is.
We endure it all because Doritos and Cheetos are fucking delicious, and more delicious to nerds than common folks, for whatever reason. It is our lembas bread — it heals us and sustains us in a way no other food does. P.S. — True nerd gourmans will purchase Munchies, the Frito-Lay snack mix which contains Doritos, Cheetos, cheese-flavored Sun Chips and pretzels in one decadent package. And then probably throw away the pretzels.
1) Ramen Noodles
Really, what else could it have possibly been? Every criteria is met by the magic that is ramen: Inexpensive (usually around $0.50 a pack, even cheaper when bought in bulk), Easy to prepare (if you can boil water, you can cook ramen). Quick (less than five minutes total cooking time — quicker if microwaved). Versatile (you can add nearly anything to them, and they come in quite an array of flavors). An all ramen diet maximizes the amount of money you can spend on your nerd pursuits, which is why it’s #1 [Although if you do this, and are such an idiot that you truly forget to eat anything else, you will get scurvy. In the 21st century. Really. I’ve seen it happen. –Rob]
If you’re fortunate enough to have an Asian grocer or specialty foods store in your neighborhood, we highly recommend purchasing your ramen from them — they have a better selection, more unique flavors, and are only slightly more expensive. If you shop for ramen at a normal market, we recommend Maruchan — it has the broadest selection of flavors (creamy chicken and roast beef are particularly tasty), and is higher quality than Top Ramen by an oddly significant margin. And if you’re willing to spend the outrageous sum* of around $1.00 per pack (*Note: Not actually that outrageous a price) you can order a wide variety of delicious and/or bizarre ramen straight from Asia at sites like Ramenbox.com.