For Filipino families, merienda is a tradition typically enjoyed twice a day, either between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner. But beyond this, it’s also as good a time as any to catch up and bond over light and easy-to-prepare delicious food.
Add a twist to your family’s usual merienda to make them more fun and exciting. Here are five activities worth a try:
Do the no-phone tower challenge
Distractions can occur during merienda time, so one way to avoid them is by setting aside phones and tablets during merienda. Of course, rules are no fun, so turn it into a challenge instead. Do this by stacking all of your phones at the center of the table. The challenge is this: the first one to get their phone from the tower gets a penalty, like cleaning up after merienda.
What is merienda without yummy snacks? Use your family’s favorite snacks as part of the games that you could play. Two games come to mind: Build-a-House and Face-the-Cookie.
For Build-a-House, simply challenge everyone to build a house using Magic Creams crackers and Wafrets. Let your family’s creative juices flow in this game. Meanwhile, for Face-the-Cookie, each family member will place a Cream-O or Presto cookie on their forehead and race to move the cookie to their mouth using only their facial muscles.
The winner gets a prize, of course, like a free pass for washing the dishes after dinner.
Make merienda kebabs and sandwiches
If most of your family members have a sweet tooth, this is the perfect surprise you can do for them: dessert kebabs! Kebabs are typically pieces of meat and tomatoes and bell peppers on a skewer. For your merienda time, put Dewberry biscuits in sticks, together with cubed watermelon and apple, or maybe even marshmallows, to keep a perfectly balanced taste.
You could also treat your family to a delightfully sweet clubhouse sandwich. This type of sandwich often includes bread, with either bacon or ham, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise in between. But as desserts, use Jack ‘N Jill’s Quake Overload as the bread and Strawberry or Milky Knots as fillings. Keep them secure using toothpicks to complete the “clubhouse” look.
Try pre-merienda games
One of the common questions during family merienda time is who gets to prepare the food. Instead of pointing fingers, try playing Pinoy childhood games like Jack en Poy (Rock, Paper, Scissors). Ten rounds of Jack en Poy should be enough. The winner can be the one to choose the snacks for merienda, which the loser will have to prepare.
Give “Potluck Day” a chance
Filipino family reunions are often tied to the potluck habit. So for merienda time, think of it as a mini reunion with your loved ones every day, where you gather to eat your favorite snacks, relax, and take a break from work or school at home. This is also your chance to bring to the table your favorite Pinoy snacks, like Jack ‘N Jill Biscuits and Cakes.
Merienda time is like your family’s “glue”. It’s these times spent together when you connect and bond even closer. Give any of these activities a try, or create a unique one yourselves. They don’t have to be complicated.
What matters is that everyone enjoys their favorite snacks with their favorite people, making funny, sweet, and lasting memories, together. Stock up on your family’s Jack N’ Jill Snacktime Favorites – Magic, Cream-O, Presto, Dewberry, Knots, Wafrets, and Quake Overload, available at your nearest supermarket, sari-sari store, and online.