Podcast Spotlight: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks

We’re hitting the ground floor with this week’s Podcast Spotlight: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, also known as M.A.T.E.S.

Only on its 16th episode, MATES is a pretty simple concept: comedian Michael Ian Black (The State, Ed) and actor Tom Cavanagh (Ed) eat snacks and review them. Each episode is devoted to a specific snack, often randomly chosen. The two then eat and critique, and go off on wild tangents about, well, just about every subject under the sun.

Just a few of the snacks featured so far are Slim Jims, Planter’s Peanuts, Combos, bananas, and, most recently, yogurt, which received a final rating of “5” from Cavanagh and “fuck you” from Black. One of the more interesting episodes covered Keebler’s cheese-and-peanut-butter crackers combined with either Pepsi or hot cocoa.

You might say, “but that’s too esoteric, too specific, too niche, too cult.” You might be right, but when you’re in the snack game as these two are, you have to delve deep. What makes a snack work? There are issues of color, texture, ingredients, taste, aftertaste, and how a snack’s disparate elements combine and react with each other.

Why am I breaking from my usual Podcast Spotlight format to write just a few paragraphs about a simple snack podcast? You might think it’s because I was busy today and I couldn’t find time to write about WTF with Marc Maron, as I had originally intended. And you might be right, but that would be missing the big picture!

I have listened to MATES all week, catching up on old episodes. It has fundamentally changed the way I eat snacks. Now, you people know me. I’m a game critic. I critique games and game-related things. Specifically, games of the electronic video variety. So why am I so invested in the snack world now? I’ll tell you why: MATES.

No longer can I passively consume a snack and think nothing of it beyond whether or not it satisfied my need for sustenance. Now when I eat a snack, I examine it, really look it over and break it down. I never before would have considered combining my snacks with drinks at the same time, just to experiment and see how the combination would work out. But I do now.

Just today, I eat some cheese-and-cracker sandwiches combined with pomegranate-cranberry juice. It did not go well. The juice overpowered the cheese-and-cracker, the flavor of pomegranate-cranberry dominating my taste buds, while the cheese-and-cracker became a flavorless much. That’s the kind of man I am now, now that I’ve listened to MATES. I’m a snack man.

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