Ranking: Top 5 Concession Stand Items (w/ a Bonus List)

Smell is a funny thing. It’s often a forgotten sense when compared to its’ seemingly more important co-ops; sight and hearing. However the value of our ability to smell dives deeper than the surface like those two aforementioned senses. Smell, as studies have proven, has the strongest effect towards evoking memories. This is because the olfactory bulb (where the brain analyzes smell) is incredibly close to the amygdala and hippocampus (area of the brain in charge of memory and emotions.) When our brains analyze a particular smell their connections have to run by the memory section. This causes us to recall memories more vividly than our other senses. Alright that’s enough of the neuroscience lesson for today. Just remember, Smell = Memory.


*only works if you scratch with a hot dog*

So when it comes to a baseball game, sure I can see the stadium on my drive in, and yeah I can hear the pregame show, but I don’t truly feel like I’m at the game until I can smell what the concession stands have cooking. Hot dogs on their rollers. Pretzels twirling around behind a glass cage of emotion. Smoke from burgers and brats on the outdoor grills. *Swallows drool* Memories flare up of summer nights, walk-off wins, and tailgates with friends. It’s one of the many factors towards why, in my opinion, baseball is the greatest sport ever. Quick piggy-back, I also think Tom Hanks is the best actor of my generation. So you guys are in for a little treat here. Without further delay, my 5 favorite ballpark indulgences and their relate-ability to my 5 favorite Tom Hanks movies.

My Top 5:

5. Catch Me If You Can — Peanuts

Catch Me If You Can centers around the main character, Frank Abagnale (Leonardo Dicaprio) being chased across the northern hemisphere for extreme counts of check fraud by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks). And while Dicaprio played his role up to his standard of excellence, Hanks was the real prize of the film. The peanut, if you will. Hanks spends two cinematic hours chasing down Dicaprio before finally forcing him to crack. And while I’ll admit that each of these has better alternatives, they both make for an intriguing snack option.


4. Castaway — Soft Pretzel

These two are the reliable classics. You know exactly what you are getting anytime you choose them. And you will certainly always come away feeling satisfied at the end of each. But much like the pretzels always staring you down in the line for concessions, just pleading for you to choose them, Castaway does the same on TV Guides. I really like Castaway (as you can tell by the #4 ranking) but I don’t need the option to watch it 3 separate times a day. Give me some variance when it’s not NBA basketball season TNT. Maybe something besides: Castle, Bones, and Castaway. Both the soft pretzel begging on the counter top next to the cash register and Castaway being ever-present on all TV guides have been dropped a peg on my lists over the years. Although I do think there’s a pretty compelling comparison between Tom Hanks being a pretzel, fully surrounded by an extreme amount of salt, and Wilson, his trusty companion saving him from total insanity, being the cheese. To put it bluntly, I’d rather die on an abandoned island than pay $6 to eat a plain soft pretzel.

Me Without Cheese

3. Bridge of Spies — Frosty Malt

The newest additions on the list happen to each fall at the same ranking. Bridge of Spies, 2016 Academy Award Nominee, is a movie set during the Cold War. Literally the coldest of all the wars. Which makes this pairing quite intuitive. James B. Donovan (Hanks), an insurance lawyer, is hired by the US government to negotiate with German/Russian officials for the trade of captured citizens. While Hanks normally shines brightest in his films, this is one of the rare cases where he is upstaged. Rudolf Abel, a captured Russian spy, is masterfully portrayed by Mark Rylance. Rylance ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Yeah yeah, I’ve seen the movie Tyler, how does this relate to a freaking Frosty Malt? Thanks for asking beloved fan. Well Tom Hanks is the chocolate ice cream. He’s predominantly liked by all and hated by none. But what stands the Frosty Malt apart from its’ competitors in the chocolate ice cream game (I’m looking at you little dots of chaos) is its’ brilliant supporting actor. The two-sided wooden spoon of glory changes the entire ice cream eating game. This negotiating process between foreign lumber and an American icon makes for a match made in Heaven, or should I say Iowa?

Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent arrested in the U.S. in DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures' dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg.

2. Toy Story — Nachos

Ahhhhhh the tinge of nostalgia. My childhood favorites find themselves coupled together holding the silver medal. To clarify, I’m talking about the OG Toy Story, so neither of the following sequels are included. The original Toy Story happened to be the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I was captivated by the mind-provoking idea of toys being able to come to life. Apparently to the point that (as my mom claims) when the toys were on the moving truck and Woody had accidentally been left behind, I stood up on my seat and began yelling at the big screen. Rather passionately I might add. Now I’m not an intense person but there is something special about this cinematic classic that still gets me all kinds of fired up. Much like the effect nachos have on me. I was/am a melted cheese connoisseur. As a child, I didn’t classify it as attending a ballgame unless I left with a couple ounces in my stomach. There’s just something empowering to the way the you get to choose each chips ratio to cheese. Its a combination of legends. Much like Buzz and Woody. With that being said, the two staples of my childhood come in second on this prestigious list of American classics.


1. Forest Gump — Hot Dog

Could it really have been any other combination? These two all-time wonders have stood the test of time. When I think Tom Hanks I think Forest Gump. When I think baseball food I think hot dog. Much like Forest, everything else that goes on around the dog is just outside noise. The dog doesn’t care if you douse him in ketchup/mustard/relish or any combination of condiments. All the dog/Forest care about is pleasing those around them to the absolute best of their abilities. And while in everyday life the hot dog may not attract you among a crowd, I’d highly recommend that you sit down and enjoy a ballgame (or a park bench) with one. You just may find yourself in for a lot more than you had bargained for.

Real depiction of the hot dog lines on Buck Night

I hope you all enjoyed. Let me know your two lists of concession stand items and Tom Hanks movies!

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