Once I realized that Oreos had not been on any break I’d seen in all my years in the industry, I knew I had to go to the source of food and beverage knowledge for our industry—Patti Shock—to find out what we had been eating and why.

Joan Eisenstodt: Your professional life has been about hospitality and especially food and its presentation. How did that become your life’s passion?

Patti Shock: My family owned a big Italian restaurant, and I literally grew up in the kitchen. I loved how much the customers enjoyed our food and that it made them happy.

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My grandmother was a fantastic cook, and she taught me how to make many of her guarded recipes. I didn’t start college until I was 31, so as the restaurant business was what I knew, I majored in Hotel & Restaurant Management.

JE: In the ’70s, what were we eating at breaks?

PS: Pigs in a blanket and frozen mini-quiche, chips and dips.

JE: In the ’80s?

PS: Cheese fondue, mozzarella sticks, stuffed mushrooms, Swedish meatballs, low fat.

JE: In the ’90s?

PS: Satay, sushi, low carb.

JE: And now, is it a myth that people want healthy snacks at breaks or are they really being served and eaten? And are people not sneaking off to the gift shop for a Snickers or other chocolatey snack?

PS: It depends. Some people want to stay on a healthy regimen and others look at travel as an excuse to splurge. The key is to offer a choice.

JE: Oreos, what’s your preference?

PS: Just munched.

JE: Thin Oreos? Worth the trouble?

PS: No (though she admits she’s not had one).

Patti J. Shock, CPCE, CHT, CGSP, is an Academic Consultant for TISOH, The International School of Hospitality, Professor Emeritus at UNLV, and is an Adjunct Professor (online) at Florida International University and Kennesaw State University.

In 2014, Patti was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders.

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